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Protesters gathered outside the Greek finance ministry in Athens while crucial bailout talks went on inside.

Greece’s foreign lenders have been considering an austerity package of nearly 12-billion euros prepared by the government.

But it appears the members of the ‘troika’ – the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund – have rejected parts of it putting the next tranche of bailout funds in jeopardy.

The socialist (PASOK) leader Evangelos Venizelos whose party is part of the Greek coalition government said:

“We have not finished because the troika has not accepted all of the proposals but we have made alternative ones. That’s because there are issues over which we cannot yield, benefits for the disabled cannot be harmed, we cannot make horizontal cuts on the issue of pensions, there has to be fairness and justice thus there are limits.”

Athens faces bankruptcy and a potential exit from the euro zone without the next aid package but wants more time to push through the austerity measures because of the deepening recession.

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