Britain supports Ireland bailout: finance ministry

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The British government Sunday said that it supported a bailout for Ireland and that it would be "closely involved" in discussions on the size and form of the rescue package.

"The UK will be closely involved in discussion on the scale and type of assistance as they develop," said a spokesman for the finance ministry.

The Irish cabinet was meeting Sunday to draw up the terms of a bailout package which is expected to be worth tens of billions of euros.

Britain has close trade ties with Ireland and its banks have lent large amounts to Irish banks and other borrowers.

"It is in Britain's national interest that the Irish economy is successful and its banking system is stable," the spokesman added.

"Britain stands ready to support Ireland in the steps that it needs to take to bring about that stability."

Ireland has been in talks with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) for four days amid concern that Ireland's huge deficit could spread contagion among other weak economies.

© 2010 AFP

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