The Latest: France's Sapin Says Greece Has Persuading to Do

The latest from Greece's financial crisis (all times local):


3:35 p.m.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said he would continue to play the mediating role at the meeting of the eurozone's 19 finance ministers, in line with recent efforts by the country.

He conceded that the Greek government had a lot of persuading to do following a marked deterioration in relations with international creditors.

Sapin said the whole eurogroup needs to be convinced that the economic reform proposals the Greek government has made in order to get its hands on a three-year bailout will actually be enacted.

Sapin said Greece's European partners want to hear the nitty-gritty: "How are you going to do it? At what moment are you doing to do it? At what tempo are you going to do it."

Providing answers to those questions, will help drive confidence, Sapin said.


3:15 p.m.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the eurozone's top official, is the latest in a long line of Greece's creditors to publicly bemoan the lack of trust with the Greek government as crunch bailout discussion begin.

Arriving for a meeting of the 19 eurozone finance ministers, Dijsselbloem said there's still "a major issue of trust" to be grappled with before creditors are able to back another bailout of Greece.

Since the new radical left Greek government was elected in January, talks with creditors have failed to make much headway. Relations between Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's finance minister until last week, and many of his peers in the eurozone were particularly frosty.

Convincing them that the Greek government is serious is the task facing Varoufakis' replacement, Euclid Tsakalotos, at Saturday's meeting.

"We are still a long way out, both on the issue of content as on the tougher issue of trust," said Dijsselbloem.


3:00 p.m.

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan sought to downplay expectations that a decisive deal over Greece's bailout request will emerge at Saturday's meeting of the eurozone's 19 finance ministers.

Arriving for talks in Brussels with his peers in the 19-country eurozone, Padoan said the purpose of the meeting was "not about striking a deal tonight."

The ministers will assess Greece's bailout request and its accompanying economic reform proposals, which won the overwhelming backing of the Greek parliament early Saturday. On Sunday, the European Union's 28 leaders will meet to discuss the Greek crisis. Without a bailout deal, Greece faces the prospect of going bankrupt and leaving the euro.

"We're here with an open mind to reach a green light, an OK, for tomorrow's negotiation," he said.


2:45 p.m.

French government experts have been advising the Greek government in recent days as it tries to secure a deal with creditors to stave off financial disaster.

A French government official said the consultations have focused on Greece's reform agenda rather than any restructuring of the country's debts, and that they have been carried out in conference calls and in western capitals, but not in Athens.

France's Socialist government has sought to play a mediating role between Greece and many of its creditors, particularly Germany, who are resistant to offering Athens another bailout.

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