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Minister Says Greece Can Wait Until Mid-November For Bailout Funds

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said today that Greece can wait until mid-November to receive the next installment of an international bailout loan.

The Greek government has previously said that without the bailout funds, it would run out of money to pay for its obligations by the middle of this month.

Venizelos was speaking upon his return to Athens from a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg, where the ministers put off a decision on the next euro 8 billion euro tranche of the bailout until later this month.

International auditors are in Greece to assess whether the country has made enough progress to qualify for the loan, but their review was suspended for several weeks after Greece revealed it would miss budget deficit reduction targets for this and next year.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the Euro Group and also Luxembourg's prime minister, insisted there is no chance of debt-crippled Greece defaulting or abandoning the euro currency.

"We had no one advocating a default for Greece," he said. "Everything will be done to avoid that and it will be avoided, and nobody was advocating an exit of Greece out of the euro area. I have to firmly deny all these rumors indicating that Greece could be invited or could decide to leave the euro area, and I have to firmly deny all rumors concerning any kind of Greek default."

Meanwhile, in Athens today, Greek public sector workers blocked the entrance to several ministries to protest against the austerity measures imposed by the government as it grapples with the country's debt problems.

compiled from agency reports

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