Argentina: Urgent solution needed to debt fight

GMT 01:25 2014 Friday ,04 July

Arab Today, arab today Argentina: Urgent solution needed to debt fight

Argentinian Finance Minister Axel Kicillof
Washington - AFP

 Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof urged fellow Latin American countries Thursday to help find an "urgent solution" to the country's debt battle as it faces possible default.
Kicillof told a special meeting at the Organization of American States in Washington on the country's fight with "vulture" hedge fund bondholders that the country wants action, "not just words."
"We need international organizations to take action," he said. "There is a problem of time. We are at the point when Argentina has 28 days to avoid a default."
Kicillof called the situation "crazy, because we have the means to pay" the restructured bondholders.
The economy minister gave no sign of whether Buenos Aires would abide by a US judge's order to pay more than $1.3 billion to the hedge funds, the so-called holdouts from the 2005-2010 restructuring of $100 billion in debt on which Argentina defaulted in 2001.
Judge Thomas Griesa ruled two years ago that the country cannot pay one group of bondholders without paying the other.
Last week, Buenos Aires deposited more than $500 million in an Argentine account of Bank of New York Mellon in order to make the principal and interest payment due on the restructured bonds on June 30.
But Griesa reiterated in a Friday hearing in New York that the bank cannot make the transaction, because there was no simultaneous payment for the holdouts.
Argentina has refused for years to pay the holdouts because they did not join the restructuring, which covered 92 percent of its defaulted debt.
Griesa's order left the country late on the payment to bondholders and with only a 30-day grace period -- until July 30 -- before it is ruled in default on its debt for the second time in 13 years.
Lawyers for Argentina and the hedge funds, mainly NML Capital and Aurelius Management, are slated to meet Monday with a court-appointed arbiter in hopes of resolving the dispute.
Kicillof, meanwhile, gave no sign he would accept an invitation from NML to meet while he is in the United States.
BNY Mellon complained to Griesa in a letter dated Wednesday that it does not know what to do with the half-billion dollars Buenos Aires deposited in its account last week.
Griesa ordered the bank to give the money back to Argentina. But BNY Mellon said it has no instructions from Argentina on where to return the money, placing it in a situation of not being able to comply with the court's order.
Asking the court to address the problem "as quickly as possible, the bank said it faced possible threat of litigation outside the United States from bondholders expecting payment if it returns the money to Argentina.

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