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BERLIN – Greece's international creditors held an emergency meeting in Berlin to discuss how to push ahead bailout discussions with Athens so the cash-strapped country can get its hands on rescue money it needs to avoid going bankrupt, the German government confirmed Tuesday.
Late Monday, the leaders of Germany and France were joined by the heads of the European Union's executive Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in a mini-summit over Greece, which faces a run of debt repayments this month that it will find difficult to meet.
The ECB's Mario Draghi and IMF head Christine Lagarde joined a previously scheduled meeting at the chancellery in Berlin between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and the EU's Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker,
According to the German government statement, all present pledged to work "with great intensity" to seek a solution and agreed to stay in close contact with each other and also with the Greek government. The leaders "were in very close contact during the last days and will continue to be — with each other as well as, of course, with the Greek government."
The ECB declined to comment on the meeting.
Greece urgently needs to wind up negotiations with creditors on what reforms it must make to get the remaining 7.2 billion euros ($7.8 billion) from the bailout program that has kept it afloat for five years. Without the money, the country could default within weeks and crash out of the euro currency union, a development that could destabilize the whole world economy.
Investors have grown increasingly cautious over recent weeks over the prospects of a deal. On Tuesday, most markets in Europe were flat as investors awaited more news on the overnight talks and whether it makes a deal more likely.
Greece has a 300 million-euro repayment to make to the IMF this Friday. There are doubts in the markets that the country can make that payment without some sort of deal with its creditors. There have been suggestions that Greece may be able to roll over all the money it owes to the IMF this month into one payment, which could buy all involved some more time to secure a deal.
The Greek government, which was elected in January on a promise to bring austerity to an end, has been asked by its creditors to come up with a reform agenda in return for the bailout cash. For months, its reform plans, notably with regard to the labor market and pensions, have met with some resistance from creditors.