Argentina eyes Paris Club deal on debt

25th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Argentina hopes to reach an agreement in June with the Paris Club on a debt repayment plan to address its 2001 default, the country's economy minister said Monday.

The South American nation owes between $6 billion and $8 billion to the creditor countries stemming from a default on nearly $100 billion in December 2001, the largest in history.

"We would like the issues resolved in June. We are working hard to achieve that," economy minister Amado Boudou told C5N television.

He added that Finance Secretary Hernan Lorenzino will soon travel to France to negotiate with the club and "find an agreement on the numbers."

Argentina had previously hoped to reach an agreement by March.

It has argued that it should pay back the slightly more than $6 billion it owed at the time of the default on December 25, 2001, but Paris Club negotiators say that with interest the bill comes to more than $8 billion.

Argentina's efforts to pay off its debt, which have already included a swap with private holders of defaulted bonds, are aimed at gaining greater access to global capital markets from which it has been sidelined since 2001.

Argentina maintains it has repaid 93 percent of its private debt, and that the rest is in the hands of speculators hoping for a better deal through court proceedings.

The Paris Club is an informal group of representatives of 19 of the world's biggest economies that manages government debt.

© 2011 AFP

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