Ukraine, creditors lock horns in 'make or break' talks

Ukraine's finance minister visits the California grounds of Kiev's biggest creditor Wednesday for "make or break" negotiations aimed at keeping the cash-strapped former Soviet country from hurtling into default.

Kiev: Ukraine's finance minister visits the California grounds of Kiev's biggest creditor Wednesday for "make or break" negotiations aimed at keeping the cash-strapped former Soviet country from hurtling into default.

Natalie Jaresko's talks with the Franklin Templeton investment giant in San Francisco come with Ukraine steadfastly refusing to make a USD 500 million (450 million euro) bond repayment that comes due on September 23.

Kiev has warned that failure to strike a final restructuring agreement would leave it with insufficient time to coordinate similar deals with its other main lenders.

But sources close to the discussions said the US financial titan was willing to accept a write-down on the face value of its original investment of no more than 10 percent -- well short of the 40 percent figure originally proposed by Jaresko.

"The 5-10% haircut (which also includes conditions) is unacceptable to the Ukrainian side and they are very much hoping for an improved offer closer to the situation Ukraine faces," another person close to the negotiations told AFP.

"But time is running out," the source added. "There is a clause written into the September 23 repayment which states that any changes to the payment must be approved by the bondholders at least 21 days before the payment is due."

Franklin Templeton leads a pack of four major investment houses that hold about USD 8.9 billion of Ukraine's maturing debt.  

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