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ECONOMY | 16-07-2020 16:55

The ball is in the creditors' court, says Guzmán

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán says Argentina is not seeking a "confrontational" relationship in debt talks and says the onus to make a deal is now on the country's creditors.

Argentina is eager to lift itself out of default and seal a deal to restructure more than US$66 billion in foreign debt, but the onus is on creditors to reach an agreement, says Economy Minister Martín Guzmán.

"We want a solution that is not confrontational. We have made a very important effort that demonstrates the will of our government to resolve a situation of default," Guzmán said Wednesday in an interview with the TN television news channel.

The government formalised what it describes its "final" effort to creditors a week ago. Talks have gone on for months, with the deadline to accept the offer now pushed back to August 4.

"In the offer, we have reached the limit of what Argentina can fo to take care of the Argentine economy and, at the same time, seek an agreement with our creditors. Now the ball is in the creditors' court," said Guzmán, who ruled out another modification to the government's proposal.

Argentina's offer to exchange the bonds, issued under foreign law, offers to pay an average of US$53.50 for every US$100 loaned. That's an improvement on the country's offer that was rejected back in May, which offered around US$39. The proposal also contains a cut in the grace period for payments from three years to one year, with maturities starting to be paid in September 2021.

At least two of the three largest bondholder groups have said they are dissatisfied with the offer and have proposed changes.

"We are defending the interests of the Argentines, their present and their future," said Guzmán. "The creditors, obviously, defend the interests of those with whom they have a fiduciary responsibility. Here the question does not involve emotions. We respect that and we are in negotiations."

The minister said there was an offer on the table and that "the ball" was with the creditors. 

"The best thing for both parties is to solve it quickly, but it has to be resolved well," he insisted.

– TIMES/AFP

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