Seeking to prevent default, Argentina officials meet in NYC to negotiate as deadline nears

Industries Associated Press

Argentina's economy minister has resumed efforts to solve the South American nation's financial crisis without a default.

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Minister Axel Kicillof (KIHS'-ih-lahf) arrived late Wednesday morning at a New York City office building. He had his first face-to-face meetings Tuesday evening with lawyers for U.S. hedge funds.

A court-appointed mediator described the meetings as "a frank exchange of views and concerns" but also said divisive issues remained unresolved.

Court orders require the hedge funds to be paid roughly $1.5 billion for bonds they bought on the cheap if Argentina makes scheduled payments to bondholders who swapped their bonds at lesser value after Argentina's 2001 default.

A midnight Wednesday deadline to avoid a default has put added pressure on negotiators.

A judge ordered the around-the-clock negotiations, saying "real people will be hurt" by a default.