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MENAFN - AFP - 02/11/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) Europe must support debt-riddled Greece as it struggles to undertake tough reforms under an international bailout program, a senior Treasury official said Friday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration has been following the discussions between Greece and the so-called "troika" of international lenders -- the IMF, the EU and the ECB -- "very closely."

"The troika and Greece are close to an agreement on the reforms commitment necessary to complete the pending program review" of the troubled eurozone nation's performance under the bailout program, the official said in a conference call with reporters.

"It is extremely important that as Greece undertakes these continued very challenging reforms... Europe comes together in support of these reforms, and helps Greece stay on the path of sustainability," the official said.

The Treasury official's remarks suggested the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank should agree to restructure Greece's debt.

Governments in the eurozone are still holding to the line that there can be no question of restructuring Greek debt again, since this would mean losses and costs for their taxpayers and would increase political tensions.

Greece's negotiations with its international lenders for a vital installment of rescue funds needed before bankruptcy looms in mid-November are stuck, the IMF said Thursday.

The IMF said talks stalled over the conditions for financing Greece, as it seeks a two-year extension to meet fiscal goals.

Greece and the troika have been locked for weeks in discussions on revising terms for the country's bailout, after it fell short of targets which had to be met for the release of the next installment of funds from the three lenders.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said the coffers in Athens will run dry on November 16 -- when a three-month treasury bill worth five billion euros must be repaid -- unless his country receives the next 31.2 billion euros (40.1 billion) in rescue funding.

Eurozone finance ministers are due to make a final decision on the payout by November 12.


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