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Greek Bailout Deal Edges Nearer on Germany’s Backing

Friday, February 17, 2012

(Bloomberg) Euro-area governments closed in on a deal to unlock a 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) aid package for Greece, seeking to avert the region’s first sovereign default.

Germany, the biggest country contributor to euro-area rescues, signaled that finance ministers may be ready to back Greece’s second bailout in two years when they meet Feb. 20 in Brussels. After a week of wrangling among euro-area officials, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government indicated it aims to avoid splitting the timetable of the aid and a writedown of Greek debt to private bondholders and agree to the deal as one package.

Greece’s struggle to give assurances on debt-reduction goals through the end of the decade have heightened uncertainty as the clock ticks toward a March 20 bond redemption when Greece must pay 14.5 billion euros or trigger the first sovereign default in the euro’s 13-year history. The Brussels gathering on Feb. 20 is due to start at 3:30 p.m. instead of the usual 5 p.m.

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