Un­known

With only 12 days to go be­fore the bailout win­dow shuts, the wran­gling over a deal to keep the coun­try afloat will be dis­cussed at an emer­gency EU sum­mit to­mor­row

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“Tsipras is­sued a dovish state­ment this morn­ing in­di­cat­ing that he will blink and come to an agree­ment,” said Mi­randa Xafa, a for­mer Greek IMF rep­re­sen­ta­tive who now runs a con­sul­tancy in Athens.

“The Greek premier over­played his hand, be­liev­ing Greece is sys­temic and cred­i­tors would ac­cept his de­mands for fear of con­ta­gion.”

With the spec­tre of cap­i­tal con­trols loom­ing, key play­ers de­cid­ing Greece’s fate voiced their ex­as­per­a­tion with the coun­try’s top ne­go­tia­tors, while the si­lence of oth­ers like Ger­man Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble spoke vol­umes.

“The key emer­gency is to se­cure a di­a­logue with adults in the room. What we lack is a di­a­logue,” said IMF man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Chris­tine La­garde af­ter lis­ten­ing to Greek Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yanis Varoufakis in Lux­em­bourg on Thurs­day.

Bank de­posits

Varoufakis said “re­gret­tably, no dis­cus­sion of our pro­posal took place within the Eurogroup”.

“Even more re­gret­tably, in­stead of that es­sen­tial dis­cus­sion, we ob­served per­ni­cious ‘leaks’ to the press re­gard­ing Greece’s bank­ing sys­tem,” he said.

Greece and its cred­i­tors – the ECB, the IMF and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion – seemed fur­ther apart than ever af­ter four hours of closed-door talks. With­out a set­tle­ment, the ties still bind­ing Greece to the cur­rency bloc might be­gin to un­ravel with fund­ing keep­ing Greek banks afloat un­der scru­tiny. In cen­tral Athens, tele­vi­sion cam­eras swarmed around banks, although busi­ness wasn’t any brisker than usual.

In­creas­ingly iso­lated among his Euro­pean peers, Tsipras was in St Peters­burg to meet Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin this week. Greek and Rus­sian of­fi­cials dis­cussed a pre­lim­i­nary agree­ment to ex­tend OAO Gazprom’s Turk­ish Stream pipeline to bring Rus­sian nat­u­ral gas to south­east­ern Europe.

Twelve days left

While Greece still has 12 days left be­fore the bailout win­dow shuts, the need for some par­lia­ments to sign off on any agree­ment means it’s al­ready too late for them to ac­cess aid in time to pay the IMF about $1.7 bil­lion (R20 bil­lion) at the end of the month.

This is ac­cord­ing to Jeroen Di­js­sel­bloem, who leads the group of Euro­pean fi­nance min­is­ters. “Let’s say that we do reach an agree­ment. “It’s un­think­able that the im­ple­men­ta­tion and then dis­burse­ment will also have to take place be­fore the end of the month,” said Di­js­sel­bloem. “That is sim­ply im­pos­si­ble.” To at least get some money, Greece will now have to look at ex­tract­ing an ex­ten­sion of its bailout agree­ment at an EU sum­mit to­mor­row.

The meet­ing will put Tsipras and Ger­man leader An­gela Merkel, who has tried to smooth out ten­sions, in the same room.

That EU sum­mit will start in Brus­sels, Bel­gium, at 7pm.

As Malta’s fi­nance min­is­ter, Ed­ward Sci­cluna, put it, the prob­lem is that no­body “wants to pull the plug”.

PHOTO: ALEXAN­DER ZEMLIANICHENKO / AP PHOTO

COUNT­DOWN TO GREXIT

A for­mer IMF rep­re­sen­ta­tive be­lieves that Greece’s

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras will blink and come to an agree­ment

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