Crunch Greece debt talks resume to avert default


BRUSSELS: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras restarted critical talks with creditors in Brussels on Thursday in a frantic bid for a bailout deal to save Athens from defaulting next week and possibly crashing out of the euro.

Difficult talks that stretched late into the night on Wednesday failed to produce a breakthrough in the five-month standoff, as cash-strapped Greece’s negotiators rejected reforms demanded by its EU-International Monetary Fund (IMF) lenders.

Leftist leader Tsipras began fresh talks at 7 a.m. local time with the heads of the European Commission, the IMF and European Central Bank (ECB), the three main monitors of Greece’s bailout.

The aim is to finalize a deal in time to have it approved by eurozone finance ministers meeting at 11 a.m. local time and then by EU leaders meeting at a summit in Brussels on Thursday night, ahead of a June 30 IMF payment deadline.

“Where there is a will, there is a way,” Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, tweeted as he headed into the talks.

Asian stocks slid on Thursday morning over fears of the global economic fallout from a possible default, continuing the slide by the eurozone’s main markets on Wednesday.

Greece pulls some proposals
Discussions have become increasingly acrimonious as the deadline looms and on Wednesday Greece withdrew some of its reform proposals, apparently for the first time since negotiations began.

Greek government sources said two were withdrawn from the list under pressure from Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza party, including an unpopular increase in pensions contributions.



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