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Argentina to make debt offer to Paris Club: source

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[January 21, 2014]  PARIS (Reuters)  Argentina will make an offer to members of the Paris Club on Monday to renegotiate the terms of some $9.5 billion of debt it still owes to the group of creditor nations, an Argentine source said.

Talks on the debt, which Argentina stopped servicing as part of its massive default in 2002, have been stalled for years. Paris Club members Germany and Japan between them hold about 60 percent of the outstanding amount.

With Buenos Aires signaling it wants to settle disputes with its creditors, Paris Club members have been eager to get a concrete proposal for the debt to be repaid over a period of time to be determined in negotiations.

"We will make an offer," the Argentine source told Reuters before a meeting between the delegation led by Economy Minister Axel Kicillof with Paris Club officials in the French capital.


Speaking in Buenos Ares, Cabinet chief Jore Capitanich told reporters that the negotiation would have to respect Argentina's national interests and ability to pay.

"This is the basic condition for negotiation the country has, and that is the position the minister Axel Kicillof will establish," he said.

Capitanich added that Argentina's debt payments would reach $5.5 billion this fiscal year and slightly more next year before the burden eases in the years from 2016 to 2019.

The Paris Club wants to be reimbursed in full in order to avoid creating a precedent for other countries that owe its members money.

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Argentina wants a breakthrough deal with the group of sovereign creditors because it needs to open up new sources of international funding after being shut out of capital markets for more than a decade since its default.

High inflation and falling confidence in Latin America's third-biggest economy have driven Argentina's peso to new lows this month as its foreign exchange reserves have dropped.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; additional reporting by Alejandro Lifschitz; editing by Catherine Evans)

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