Talks on Greece bailout program hit standstill

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image

Manju Shukla
Date  12/06/2015

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says negotiations on Greece’s bailout program have come to a halt amid a lack of progress toward an agreement needed to avert a possible default.

“There are major differences between us in most key areas,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters in Washington on Thursday, adding, "There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently. Thus we are well away from an agreement."

Rice said that “the IMF never leaves the table and remains engaged," although its team has returned to Washington from Brussels where it discussed the Greece issue.

The remarks come as 11th-hour talks in Brussels between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker broke up without reaching a deal needed for bailout cash.

Issues such as pensions, taxes and financing were reportedly among key disagreements in the negotiations over technical details of the bailout with the troika of international lenders - the European Central Bank (ECB), the IMF and the European Commission. 

In a separate development on Thursday, the Greek government said it would step up efforts to resolve differences with its creditors to reach a deal that would give the Mediterranean country bailout funds to avoid defaulting on its foreign debt.

"The Greek delegation, as agreed, is ready to intensify its negotiations" to reach an accord and will "continue to work on the unresolved questions", in particular regarding the budget and debt, said Greek government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis.

Greece received two bailouts in 2010 and 2012 worth a total of €240 billion (USD 272 billion) from the troika of lenders following the 2009 economic crisis.

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