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Eurozone a 'whisker' from Greece bailout

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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The eurozone is a "whisker" away from a deal to unblock bailout funds for Greece, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici says, hours after he and his eurozone counterparts failed to reach such a deal.

The eurozone "would be threatened if we did not reach one, but once again we have observed that Greece had made considerable efforts," Moscovici told Europe 1 radio on Wednesday.

"We are very close to a deal."

The failure to strike a deal threatens the whole region's stability, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warns.

"Our partners and the IMF have a duty to do what they have taken on," Samaras said in a statement.

"It's not only the future of our country but the stability of the entire eurozone which depends on the success of the conclusion of this effort in the next few days."

Eurozone finance ministers' emergency meeting, which started on Tuesday and ended in the small hours of Wednesday, failed to agree to release funds that Greece needs to stave off bankruptcy.

They said they would try again next week, dashing hopes in Athens for a solution after five months of waiting for the badly needed cash.

Samaras's coalition government suffered defections as it pushed through another controversial round of austerity measures through parliament earlier this month.

His frustration at this latest setback was clear in Wednesday's statement.

"Greece did what it had to do, and what it had pledged to do ... whatever technical difficulties in finding a technical solution do not justify any negligence or delay," the prime minister said.

Greece has been waiting since June for an instalment of 31.2 billion euros ($A38.83 billion) in aid, part of a 130 billion euros ($A161.79 billion)- financial assistance package initially granted early this year.

By the end of the year, Athens is also due to receive two more aid payments, worth 5.0 and 8.3 billion euros, in exchange for which it has pledged to implement a series of unpopular austerity measures.

The government raised some quick cash last week to repay five billion euros in maturing debt on November 16.

But it now needs to repay another seven billion euros in December.

22/10/2014 00:32Sydney, Australia. 22 October,2014
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