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Talks under way in Argentina debt row: New York lawyer

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Talks between Argentina, seeking to avoid defaulting on its debt, and hedge fund bondholders are under way but there is not yet any resolution, a New York lawyer confirmed Wednesday.

Daniel Pollack, appointed by a US federal judge to preside over the talks, said he met counsel for the parties for several hours Tuesday and that they had communicated with him by telephone over the last two days.

"No resolution has been reached," Pollack said in a statement.

"The parties, through their counsel, have agreed to keep the substance of our discussions confidential in order to facilitate the possibility of a future resolution."

Pollack declined to comment further at this stage.

Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof was in New York to discuss his country's debt situation with representatives of the Group of 77 developing nations plus China.

New York federal judge Thomas Griesa on Monday named Pollack as "special master" to oversee talks, after Buenos Aires asked him to organize negotiations with its creditors.

The move raised hopes that a deal could be concluded before a June 30 deadline for Buenos Aires to pay back possibly billions of dollars to creditors, a week after the US Supreme Court turned down the country's last-ditch appeal.

The Supreme Court's ruling means the country must pay the hedge funds -- "holdouts" from its 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring -- the full value of their bonds at the time it makes its next regular debt payment, scheduled for the end of this month.

Buenos Aires had warned that the ruling has put it in the position of defaulting on its debt for the second time in 13 years.

The case pits Argentina against hedge funds that refused to take part in a restructuring of the debt on which Buenos Aires defaulted in 2001.

While the two funds that sued Argentina in the case, NML Capital and Aurelius Management, hold about $1.3 billion worth of bonds, Argentina says the court decision would force it to pay all holdouts, more than $15 billion.

That is more than half of the country's foreign exchange reserves.

jm/mdl

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