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Greek bondholders pressed on deal

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BRUSSELS - European leaders ratcheted up the pressure yesterday on Greek bondholders to take voluntary losses to ease the region’s debt crisis as the International Monetary Fund turned the focus on governments, urging them to complete action on a new bailout fund.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said in Berlin it was “high time to work on the new Greece program’’ after talks between bondholders and authorities in Athens bogged down. Jan Kees de Jager, the Dutch finance minister, told parties to speed up talks or face the prospect of bruising financial consequences.

The comments suggest leaders’ patience may be wearing thin as bondholders and Greek officials wrangle over the interest rate for new bonds that would be part of a deal reducing Greek debt by about $130 billion. Private sector bondholders are seeking yields of nearly 4 percent, but Greece, Germany, and the IMF argue that a yield closer to 3 percent will give the restructuring a serious hope of success.

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