Greece's creditors leave Athens, talks to continue

Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:40pm EST
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By Sophie Sassard and Dina Kyriakidou

LONDON/ATHENS (Reuters) - Chief negotiators for Greece's private creditors left Athens on Saturday without a deal on a debt swap plan that is vital to avert a chaotic default, sources close to the negotiations told Reuters.

A technical team stayed in the Greek capital to work on details, and negotiations will continue over the phone, but it is unlikely a deal can be clinched before a crucial meeting on Monday of euro zone finance ministers, the sources said.

Greek officials had been expecting Institute of International Finance chief Charles Dallara, who negotiates in the name of creditors, to hold meetings on Saturday but he left early in the day for Paris.

The IIF denied that Dallara and his adviser Jean Lemierre had left unexpectedly and said they had longstanding personal appointments.

Following several rounds of talks from Wednesday to Friday, Greece and its private creditors are converging towards a deal in which private creditors will take a real loss of 65 to 70 percent, sources close to the negotiations said.

But a lot of details are still unresolved, including on legal aspects of the deal, the sources said.

"Discussions will continue over the phone this weekend but an agreement is unlikely before next week, if there is an agreement at all," one source close to the talks said. "Things are complicated, we are getting closer on the numbers but there is still quite some work ahead."

Much of the attention will now turn to the euro zone finance ministers' meeting in Brussels, and to how EU paymaster Germany and the IMF view the progress in the debt swap talks.   Continued...