Greece says it will not negotiate with bailout creditors

reece’s new left-wing government was in open dispute Friday with its European bailout creditors, saying it would not negotiate with European Union and International Monetary Fund officials on the country’s bailout conditions and rejecting new loans offered for February.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Greece had no intention of talking with the negotiators from the lending “troika” (the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) about an extension of the existing bailout, and instead said he would rather meet with eurozone leaders.

“Our intention is to — with an absolute will to cooperate — to persuade our partners … that our common interest in Europe is served best by a new agreement that will emerge following talks between all Europeans,” he said.

As part of its election campaign, the new government promised Greek constituents that it would seek debt reductions to mitigate the austerity measures demanded in 2010 in exchange for the loans.

Germany flatly rejected suggestions of loan forgiveness, warning against “blackmail” from Athens.

“There is no arguing with us about this, and what is more we are difficult to blackmail,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as saying in Berlin. “We are prepared to offer all cooperation and solidarity,” he said, but only if Greece abided by its agreements, under which it received 240 billion euros ($270 billion) in rescue loans.

Without the loans from eurozone countries and the IMF, Greece would face great difficulties in servicing its debts and avoiding bankruptcy.


(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)