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Obama, Greek finance chief share 'brief interaction' in Washington

18 april 2015, 11:29

 US President Barack Obama and Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had a "brief interaction," after the finance chief caused a stir by saying he would meet with the US leader, AFP reports.

Media darling Varoufakis had announced a tete-a-tete with Obama, which the White House later challenged, saying there was no private bilateral meeting on the books.

But a senior administration official said Friday the two had an informal interaction Thursday in Washington at a commemoration ceremony for Greece's 19th-century independence struggle.

"The president and Finance Minister Varoufakis did have a brief interaction along the rope line on the margins of yesterday's Greek Independence Day reception at the White House," the source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Varoufakis is in Washington for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring meetings this week, where he is expected to hold talks on Greece's bailout deal.

Greece wants the last tranche of its bailout funding worth $7.8 billion (7.2 billion euros) to keep afloat and repay its debts to the IMF and European Central Bank, but has balked at tough reform conditions demanded by its creditors.

Varoufakis said Thursday he is determined to keep his country in the eurozone.

Progress in the talks has so far proved elusive while Athens is running out of money to pay its creditors, raising the risk of a default and a potentially chaotic exit from the single currency bloc.

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