Eurozone, Greece debt talks collapse without deal

AFP , Monday 16 Feb 2015

Crunch talks between Greece and its eurozone partners broke up abruptly on Monday after Athens rejected demands that it continue its current massive debt bailout unchanged as "absurd".

"The meeting is over," a European source told AFP, moments after a government source in Athens said Greece had rejected a demand by eurozone ministers that the debt-wracked country stick to its bailout programme.

Greece faced a wall of opposition at the crucial talks with eurozone finance ministers dead set against scrapping the country's massive bailout programme as a bitter stand-off deepened.

The hard-left government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is trying to win a radical overhaul to the terms of its 240-billion-euro ($270 billion) bailout which it says has damaged the Greek economy after years of imposed austerity.

The source said Athens had been told to respect the existing conditions of the bailout, a red line that the Tsipras government refuses to cross.

"The insistence of certain people for the new Greek government to enforce the bailout is absurd and unacceptable... under these circumstances there can be no deal today," the source said.

Eurozone finance ministers were meeting in Brussels hoping to reach a compromise before Greece's bailout expires on February 28.

"(Implementing) the bailout programme was off the table at the summit. Those who bring this back are wasting their time," the Greek government source said.

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