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G7 finance ministers unhappy about Greece

Finance ministers from the wealthiest democracies have renewed their calls on Greece to speed up its reform process so as to get its finances in order. Time is running out for Athens with more debt repayments looming.

No breakthrough was achieved in the Greek debt crisis at a G7 meeting in Dresden, Germany, bringing together the finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the seven richest democracies worldwide.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (pictured above) made it clear he had a different stance on the state of affairs than his Greek counterpart, Gianis Varoufakis, who'd told reporters his country had come closer to a deal with Athens' international creditors.

"The positive-sounding news from Athens does not reflect current talks between Greece and its creditors," Schäuble told journalists in Dresden.

Cash-strapped Greece will have to honor a debt repayment of some 300 million euros ($329 million) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by June 5, with a total of 1.55 billion euros falling due by the end of June.

Too close for comfort

G7 finance ministers agreed that another bailout installment of 7.2 billion euros could not be unlocked without substantially more reform-related concessions from the hard-left government in Greece.

At the meeting in Dresden US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew called on European policymakers to up the ante with a view to reaching a deal with Greece, saying Europe needed to be more flexible.

Lew said that further delaying the Continent's

six-month-old talks

with Athens was "courting an accident," meaning a Greek default and the country's messy exit from the euro. That might have unpredictable effects not only on the European economies.

Participants in the gathering also wrestled over concerns that growth still faced risks from low investment and insufficiently pro-business policies. They also talked about joint efforts to prevent multinational corporations from avoiding taxes.

hg/sgb (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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