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Hollande, Merkel, Tsipras in new Greek debt crisis talks

greekGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke by phone Saturday to discuss Greece’s debt crisis as time runs out to reach a deal, a French diplomatic source said.

“They took stock of the situation to help move forward the negotiations between Greece and the three (creditor) institutions,” the source said.

The three-way talks came on the eve of a G7 summit in Germany that looks set to be overshadowed by the Greek drama, even though Tsipras himself is not attending the high-level gathering.

With no deal on the table yet and billions of euros in loan repayments due, fears are rising of a possible Greek debt default that could see the country crashing out of the eurozone.

Tsipras on Friday urged the country’s international creditors — the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank — to withdraw “absurd” demands for further austerity cuts in return for unlocking the final 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion) in bailout funds.

Athens also ramped up pressure in the make-or-break negotiations after postponing a key loan repayment to the IMF due Friday, opting instead to bundle four IMF loan payments totalling 1.6 billion euros into a single one due by the end of June.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde is scheduled to join the Group of Seven talks on Monday, while a European diplomatic source said ECB head Mario Draghi will also be present.

 

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