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Greek Party Leaders Fail to Sign Off on Bailout
Reuters | February 08, 2012 | 10:45 PM EST

Greek political leaders failed early on Thursday to sign off on a tough reform and austerity program, the price of a new international bailout for the nation, but Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said they would try to strike a deal within hours.

Speaking after seven hours of negotiations, Papademos said chiefs of the three parties in his coalition had agreed on all the points to secure the 130 billion-euro bailout, bar one.

But Papademos, a technocrat who leads a cabinet of party politicians, said after the talks broke up in the early hours of Thursday that he wanted agreement to be reached before euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels at 1700 GMT on Thursday.

Prospects for a long-awaited deal on Greece's second bailout since 2010 appeared to brighten when the finance ministers' chairman Jean-Claude Juncker called the Brussels meeting - which IMF managing director Christine Lagarde will also attend — to examine the bailout and accompanying bond swap.

But Papademos said the party leaders needed more discussions with officials from the "troika" of Greece's international lenders — the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF.

The party leaders had "agreed on all points of the program with one exception which requires further inspection and discussion with the troika", he said.

"This discussion will take place immediately in order to complete the deal before the Eurogroup meeting."

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