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Greece: Weekend deadline for Greece after negotiations draw blank - by Ian Traynor, Jennifer Rankin, Helena Smith

Greece’s creditors have set the country a weekend deadline to avoid default and stay in the eurozone, after more than 24 hours of non-stop Brussels negotiations at the highest level resulted in stalemate.

After talks between Athens and its creditors failed to reach an agreement on Thursday, a further meeting of eurozone finance ministers will be held on Saturday in a bid to achieve a breakthrough. With the German chancellor Angela Merkel insisting that a deal must be reached before markets open on Monday morning, Greece is now running out of time to secure an accord and make a €1.6bn payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday.

Following a 24-hour period that involved three rounds of talks between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and Greece’s creditors, as well as two sessions of eurozone finance ministers, officials described the situation as entrenched and immobilised.

“They can talk and talk, but the gap does not narrow,” said an EU official. “Both sides are in their trenches.” Arriving at an EU leaders’ summit on Thursday evening that threatened to be overshadowed by the Greek crisis, Merkel said Greece had “gone backwards” on some issues.

Read more: Weekend deadline for Greece after negotiations draw blank | Business | The Guardian

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