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Greek bailout talks end without settlement on pension cuts

(Xinhua)

15:22, February 09, 2012

ATHENS, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- After seven hours of negotiations, Greek leaders have agreed on almost all the austerity and reform measures in exchange for a bailout package. Yet one vital point remains unsettled, a statement from the prime minister's office said early Thursday.

The unsettled point concerns pension cuts, and was left to the following discussions between Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and the so-called troika of Greek's international lenders, namely the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The dialogue with the troika is expected to complete the deal before the Eurogroup meeting scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Brussels.

At stake is a 130-billion-euro (172.56 billion U.S. dollars) loan offered by the troika, the second of its kind since May 2010, which is crucial to escape a bankruptcy that could have major repercussions across the eurozone and the global economy.

In return, Athens must accept conditions requiring big cuts in many Greeks' living standards, including pension cuts. Here, the talks hit snags, with the smallest member of the coalition, the far-right LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) party, disagreeing.

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