Saturday, January 28, 2012

Greek Debt Negotiations Drag on as Lagarde Maintains Pressure on Creditors

January 28, 2012

Greece and its private creditors said they made “important” progress during talks in Athens on a debt-swap accord needed to lower the country’s debt and pave the way for a second package of international aid.

“Important understandings were reached on legal and technical issues,” according to an e-mailed statement yesterday from the Institute of International Finance, which represents private holders of Greek debt in the talks with the government.

Co-Chairmen of the Steering Committee for Greece, Charles Dallara, and Jean Lemierre, negotiating on behalf of private creditors, also discussed financial issues with Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the IIF said. The two sides plan to meet again today. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde maintained pressure to reduce the nation’s debt burden.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the government was “one step away” from completing talks on a voluntary debt swap, and was negotiating with international creditors on a second financing package. Both have to be concluded in “the next few days,” he said before the meeting yesterday in an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based ministry.

Bondholders agreed with European officials three months ago to implement a 50 percent cut in the face value of more than 200 billion euros ($263 billion) of debt by voluntarily swapping bonds for new securities.


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