Greece Friday extended to April 4 a deadline for its creditors to swap 8.1 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in debt as part of a historic bond exchange which has already erased nearly a third of its debt mountain.
Holders of Greek debt issued under foreign law had until 2000 GMT to join the so-called Private Sector Involvement (PSI) which was hammered out in February after months of negotiations with global banks and eurozone states.
But as the deadline expired the Greek finance ministry issued a statement saying creditors would have two more weeks to decide.
"The Hellenic Republic has decided to extend to April 4 at 1900 GMT the deadline for holders of Greek foreign-law bonds and of bonds issued by state enterprises and guaranteed by the state," a statement said.
The first phase of the swap, involving bonds issued under Greek law, was completed on March 12, cancelling more than 94.8 billion euros in near and mid-term debt in return for incentives and longer-term maturities.
Out of around 27.2 billion euros' worth of bonds and state utility loans guaranteed by Greece under foreign law, holders of 19.1 billion euros have already opted to join the initiative.
Debt holders received new bonds with a face value equivalent to 31.5 percent of the face amount of the debt exchanged, plus 24-month notes from the European Financial Stability Facility, the eurozone's current rescue fund.
Holders also received securities linked to Greek output.
After Friday's expression of interest ends, the bonds will be exchanged on April 11.
The Greek bond swap is intended to help Greece meet a wave of debt repayment deadlines this year, and is a key part of a eurozone-IMF rescue to enable the country to rebuild its economy.
A 130-billion-euro bailout was approved by the eurozone last week.
The International Monetary Fund last week also decided on a new 28 billion euro loan for Greece, to be released over four years.
Collective action clauses recently added to Greek law enabled Athens to force compliance on holdout bondholders, pushing the overall participation rate to 95.7 percent for Greek-law bonds.
And payouts from insurance policies on Greek bonds, known as credit default swaps, reached $2.5 billion (1.9 billion euros) on March 19 after a key derivatives group branded the forced swap a "credit event".
Greece has a total public debt of over 350 billion euros.
In 2010 it was accorded a first EU-IMF bailout of 110 billion euros, of which it drew 73 billion euros until December before the second rescue was set up.
The European Union will still pay Greece 27 billion euros remaining from the first package, but the IMF has said that its own 10-billion-euro leftover tranche will be rolled into its new loan.
Overall, Greece will receive 185 billion euros in loans through 2015, by which point EU officials hope its economy will be strong enough to enable to enter markets and borrow at affordable rates.
But the prospect of yet another lifeline has not been ruled out either.