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Greece requests Eurogroup to extend bailout for 6 months

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Greece requests Eurogroup to extend bailout for 6 months
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Brussels: Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the Eurogroup finance ministers, confirmed Thursday that he has received Greece's request to extend the existing bailout agreement for another six months.

"Received Greek request for six months extension," Dijsselbloem posted on his official Twitter account but did not provide further information on the terms set out in the request by the government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The deadline for repayment of the European portion of the bailout funds that Greek banks received in 2012 is set to expire at midnight Feb 28.

That deadline would be extended from March 1 through the end of August, if Greece and its European creditors agree on terms in the extension request, which were not immediately disclosed.

The Euro Working Group, comprising the deputy heads of the Eurozone economy and finance ministries was scheduled to meet Thursday to evaluate the request, sources said.

An extraordinary Eurogroup meeting in Brussels will be held Friday.

Legally, Athens is also required to request the extension of "credit agreement", a document known as the Framework Agreement on Financial Assistance Mechanism, establishing the terms of the loans it received from the Eurozone temporary rescue fund.

According to sources, the Greek government has requested the extension of the assistance programme.

This document stipulates that the member state receiving aid must comply with the measures set out in the memorandum of understanding linked to the loan.

The Eurogroup, however, has said that room for some "flexibility" exists and that it remains open to discussion of the Greek petition to eliminate measures that Athens considers "toxic" if they have the same fiscal impact.

Greek government sources stressed that the financial assistance agreement involves "other conditions" apart from those in the bailout programme itself.

In Brussels, diplomatic sources have insisted that acceptance of the extension request depends on the wording, especially with regard to the conditions and the pending review.

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