Jan. 24 - Greece's private creditors have pleaded with European officials who rejected their bond swap offer to hammer together a deal before Athens tumbles into a chaotic default. Andy Potter reports.
Talks continued late into the night as European Union finance ministers discussed how to restructure Greece's debt. Private creditors have already agreed to write off half of what they're owed by Greece. The ministers are trying to pressure the creditors to accept a lower rate of interest rate on bonds they'll get in exchange for that debt. But a deal couldn't be reached. Greece is desperate for it to work so it can get access money from a 130 billion euro rescue fund drawn up by the EU and IMF before it has to make a 14.5 billion euro debt payment in March. Jean-Claude Juncker is head of the Eurogroup representing the 17 countries which use the euro. SOUNDBITE: Jean-Claude Juncker, Chairman of the Eurogroup, saying (English): "It's obvious that the Greek programme is off track and so prior action has to be taken before we can seriously envisage the conclusion of a new Greek programme." In reaction Greece's private creditors issued a plea to European officials. Charles Dallara is negotiating on behalf of private bond holders through the International Institute of Finance. He says, with he latest delay, time is running out. SOUNDBITE: CHARLES DALLARA, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCE, SAYING (English) "Greece's future, not just economic but political and social future are at stake, I think European stability is at stake as well and as I mentioned earlier it's not difficult to see at all the connected tissue between resolving Greece in a cooperative fashion and addressing the overall sovereign debt crisis of Europe and the global economy." The IMF has issued a warning of its own. It slashed growth forecasts and appealed for the euro zone to solve its problems, saying the bloc would fall into mild recession, not helping global growth it expects to fall from 4 to 3.3 percent this year. Andrew Potter, Reuters