Greece gets wake-up call: coming week could seal its fate

BRUSSELS (AP) — International creditors sent Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras home from a summit Thursday with a clear message: swiftly tone down your demands in the bailout talks over the next week or face financial ruin.

The International Monetary Fund took the toughest stance, saying it was bringing its negotiators back to Washington as there had been no sign of compromise.

“There has been no progress in narrowing these differences,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said Thursday. “There are major differences between us in most key areas.”

European Union President Donald Tusk earlier warned “there is no more time for gambling” and that next week’s meeting of the 19 eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg should be the make-or-break session in sealing Athens’ fate.

Cutting through days of dense diplomatic talk about the state of negotiations, Tusk said it was time for Tsipras to stop biding for time with unworkable demands.

“The Greek government has to be, I think, a little bit more realistic,” Tusk said.

Despite the bluster, the financial and economic stakes are such that cutting Greece loose from the eurozone or the global financial network seems improbable. Failing a deal, there have been fears that Greece could drop out of the euro, a move that would create huge uncertainty for Europe and global markets.

“We remain engaged,” Rice said. “The IMF doesn’t leave the table.”

For months, Greece has wrangled with its creditors over the release of the bailout loans.

Over the past few weeks there has been increasing gloom surrounding the talks.

The head of Germany’s central bank, Jens Weidmann, said time is running out for a deal and the risk of insolvency is increasing by the day.

“The contagion effects of such a scenario are certainly better contained than they were in the past, though they should not be underestimated,” he said in a speech in London. “But the main losers in that scenario would be Greece and the Greek people.”

Full article: Greece gets wake-up call: coming week could seal its fate (AP)

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