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Eurozone, Greece Fail To Agree Way Forward Following Meeting

  • RFE/RL

A woman walks past a slogan in central Athens late last month

A woman walks past a slogan in central Athens late last month

Talks between Greece and its creditors in the 19-country eurozone have broken down without agreement.

Following an emergency meeting in Brussels, the two sides failed to even issue a statement early on February 12.

Greece's new government is seeking changes to the international bailout, which it largely blames for the country's economic woes.

EU officials have so far rejected the new Greek government's push to renegotiate the terms of the 240 billion euro ($276 billion) bailout, which Athens says are too severe.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the eurogroup of finance ministers, said detailed proposals weren't even discussed.

Dijsselbloem said, "We had an intense and constructive discussion covering a lot of ground and also making progress. But not enough progress yet at this point to come to joint conclusions."

According to sources, Greece was ready to cooperate on 70 percent of its bailout obligations but wanted to overhaul the remaining 30 percent -- which it would replace with the 10-step plan.

The plan presented by Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis, reportedly consisted of several measures including lower budget surplus targets and cutting debt through a swap plan to replace its obligations under the current deal.

The finance ministers will meet again February 16 and Varoufakis voiced hope that progress could be made then.

EU diplomats said a broad common statement on finding a way forward for Greece and the euro zone had been drafted but that the Greek delegation, which consulted Athens by telephone, had not agreed to it.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose radical-left Syriza party came to power after winning elections last month on an antiausterity ticket, has insisted it will not extend the bailout deal that expires in two weeks.

The Greek government also rejects the so-called "troika" of lenders -- the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank -- overseeing the implementation of the bailout.

Greek officials have warned that Athens could turn to the United States, Russia, or China if it fails to reach a new debt agreement with the eurozone.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on February 11 held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow. Lavrov said Moscow would consider providing financial aid to Greece if Athens made such a request.

With reporting by Reuters and AP