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Tsipras to resume Greece bailout talks ahead of EU summit

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was set to meet with EU-IMF creditors early on Thursday with hopes of finally striking a bailout deal. Talks were due to be held just hours before a high-profile EU summit in Brussels.

The Greek PM was due to resume negotiations with his country's creditors at 9 a.m. local time (0700 UTC) on Thursday, with economic reforms and austerity at the top of the morning's agenda.

According to European Union (EU) sources, Tsipras also met with top representatives of the European creditor countries late on Wednesday night, after an initial five-hour round of intense negotiations failed to produce a breakthroughearlier in the day.

"We're making progress, but there are still some outstanding issues to be resolved," European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said late on Wednesday evening.

Rejected proposals

According to sources in Brussels, differences still remain on issues such as pension cuts, changes to the Greek value added tax and a Greek demand for a shift of its debt from the European Central Bank (ECB) to the eurozone's bailout fund.

Greece's latest proposals to the creditors had included a fiscal adjustment of around 8 billion euros ($9 billion) by the end of 2016. The reduction in the government's primary budget deficit would be attained by increasing taxes on consumers, businesses and the wealthy, as well as by passing pension reforms which would focus on phasing out early retirement.

Eurozone finance ministers were also due to reconvene at 1 p.m. local time (1100 UTC) on Thursday to assess the situation further, before beginning a two-day EU summit in Brussels.

Ahead of Thursday's meeting, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said finance ministers were still "determined" to reach a deal.

'Grexit' still possible

With a deadline looming, time is running out for Greece, which is due to repay the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) by June 30.

For months, Greece has been struggling to settle an agreement with its creditors, with which it hopes to access the remaining 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in the IMF's bailout funds.

Unlocking the remaining funds would enable Greece to avoid a default on its IMF loan, which analysts fear could force the country to exit the eurozone and possibly even the EU.

ksb/bw (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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