Paris Club says "open" to debt talks with Argentina

PARIS Wed Feb 5, 2014 12:32pm EST

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PARIS Feb 5 (Reuters) - The Paris Club is open to talks with Argentina on repaying its debt, the group of creditor nations said on Wednesday, moving closer towards launching formal negotiations with Buenos Aires.

Eager to settle disputes with its creditors, Argentina outlined its conditions for repaying the roughly $9.5 billion in debt it owes Paris Club members last month.

Paris Club Secretary General Clotilde L'Angevin said that its members had had "preliminary discussions" on the offer from Buenos Aires, which was their first official contact in years.

"They are open to continue the dialogue with Argentina," L'Angevin told Reuters, adding that Paris Club members wanted clarification from Buenos Aires on questions which she declined to specify.

With dollar funding scarce and international reserves dwindling, Argentina devalued its currency last month <ARSB=. , putting Latin America's third-largest economy at the centre of a global sell-off in emerging market assets.

The revival of long-stalled talks between Argentina and the Paris Club marks a small step towards opening formal negotiations to decide how to handle the country's outstanding debt with the group, a remnant of its massive 2002 default.

Argentina wants a breakthrough deal because it needs to open up new sources of international funding after being shut out of capital markets since its default.

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