Saturday, February 4, 2012

Greece bailout talks impasse continues

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos speaks to reporters in Athens after a telephone conference with eurozone ministers on February 4, 2012.

Source: Press TV

Greece has once again failed to reach an agreement with its creditors on major sticking points to receive a multi-billion-dollar bailout package.

On Saturday, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced that the country's negotiations with the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were still at an impasse.

Venizelos said the negotiations with the EU and the IMF were "on a knife edge" but insisted that a deal had to be sealed by Sunday night.

Earlier on Saturday, Venizelos stated that debt inspectors' demands for additional austerity measures were preventing a breakthrough in the talks.

Greece has to make a bond repayment of 14.4 billion euros (about $19 billion) by March 20. Athens cannot afford to make the payment, and the country will go bankrupt without more financial assistance.

Athens is under pressure to cover part of its debt as a precondition for it to receive a new aid package from EU member states and the IMF worth 130 billion euros (about $171 billion).

Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of Germany's biggest lender, Deutsche Bank, said he plans to visit Athens and observed that Europe faced a "make or break" moment on Greece.

On Saturday, Josef Ackermann stated that private investors had been "extremely generous" to Greece by offering "a loss of over 70 percent" on their bond portfolios.

"I can only ask other constituencies to do the same," he added, referring to governments and EU institutions, such as the European Central Bank, that also hold billions of euros in Greek debt.

Ackermann expressed optimism that Europe was emerging from the economic crisis but insisted that the Greek problem must be fixed.

"If we see Greece collapsing, I think we are opening a Pandora's box," he noted.

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