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Greece doesn't want to talk to the Troika - and is rejecting €7.2 billion in loans

But Angela Merkel is against a deal.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

GREECE’S NEW GOVERNMENT dramatically escalated its battle with the country’s international creditors, saying it would no longer meet with EU and IMF auditors and rejecting fresh loans offered for February.

Athens had been promised another €7.2 billion in funds from the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank if it completed reforms required by its lenders by 28 February.

But despite warnings Greece would shortly run out of money, hardline Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said his government preferred to do without the new round of funds and instead renegotiate the entire bailout package.

“This government was elected on the basis of analytically questioning the very logic of the programme now being applied,” he said, referring to the reforms and budget cuts demanded by Athens’ international creditors.

“Our first act as government will not be to reject the logic of questioning this programme by requesting to extend it,” he told a press conference.

In a New York Times interview earlier, Varoufakis made clear: “We don’t want the seven billion euros…. We want to sit down and rethink the whole programme.”

The leftist minister was speaking after talks Friday with Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the first between the anti-austerity government and the creditors behind Greece’s huge bailout.

Varoufakis said Athens was willing to negotiate with its lenders but not with the so-called “troika” of EU, IMF and ECB auditors who he said were merely a “committee built on rotten foundations”.

No deal

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there should be no debt relief for Athens, a newspaper reported Saturday, adding to tensions between the radical new government and its international creditors.

“There has already been voluntary debt forgiveness by private creditors, banks have already slashed billions from Greece’s debt,” Merkel told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper.

“I do not envisage fresh debt cancellation.”

- © AFP, 2015

Read: ‘Greek people have a very unhealthy relationship when it comes to paying tax’

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