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

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

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.