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Sunday 19 November 2017

Talks between Greece and EU/IMF/ECB troika break down

A protester throws stones at police in Athens, Greece
A protester throws stones at police in Athens, Greece

GREECE’S government and international lenders have briefly suspended talks on austerity cuts as both sides confer with their leaders on the thorny issue of automatic wage increases, Greek officials said today.

Officials acknowledge the two sides remain at loggerheads over many issues but played down speculation that talks between the labour minister and lenders from the European Union and International Monetary Fund had broken down unexpectedly.

"It's not a breakdown. It's not the first time this has happened and the prime minister as well as the other political leaders must be briefed on the progress of the negotiations," a labour ministry official told Reuters.

"There is still disagreement on many issues."

Another government official said talks at the labour ministry will resume later on Tuesday.

Athens and its lenders have been holding on-and-off talks on a €11.5bn austerity package for months with the so-called troika of EU, IMF and European Central Bank lenders. The talks have been frequently marred by tension and disagreement on issues ranging from wage cuts to public sector reforms.

Greece needs to clinch an agreement on the cuts as well a long list of reforms before it can unlock aid under its latest bailout package.

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