Greece has told its creditors it will run out of money on April 9, making an appeal for more loans before reforms on which new disbursements hinge are agreed and implemented, but the request was rejected, euro zone officials said.
The appeal was made by Athens at a teleconference of euro zone deputy finance ministers on Wednesday organised to assess how far Athens still was from meeting the conditions for unlocking new financial aid.
Greece's appeal echoed remarks by Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis on Wednesday that the country would have to choose whether to pay back 450 million euros to the International Monetary Fund on April 9th or pay salaries and pensions. He said it would choose the latter.
A government spokesman later denied that Greece would miss the IMF repayment deadline. But the choice Athens said it would face was repeated at the closed teleconference with creditors.
Greece can get 7.2 billion euros of new loans from the euro zone and the IMF if it implements reforms that the previous government agreed would be the condition for disbursement.
The new government does not want to implement most of these measures because they go against its election promises of ending budget consolidation policies. It is now negotiating a new list of steps that would keep both sides satisfied.
The Greek representative on the call said that a deal on the reforms should not be a "post mortem" for the country as "there is no way we can go beyond April 9th", euro zone officials said.
He added that holding off with new loans until a deal with creditors can be reached was unrealistic.
But others on the call, including Germany, reiterated that for Greece to get the reminder of the 240 billion euro bailout, Athens would have to agree on the reforms and implement them and there was no chance of releasing the funds on April 9.
Euro zone officials pointed out to Greece that it could manage its liquidity by tapping funds of various entities in the Greek general government and those of state-owned companies, even if it had to pass appropriate laws to do so if necessary.
But Greece repeated that this would not be enough to cover both the IMF repayments and its wage and pension obligations in April after next week.
No resolution was reached on the call regarding what would happen if the talks continue beyond April 9.
New reform list far from satisfactory
Greece sent a more detailed list of planned reforms to institutions representing the creditors -- the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF -- earlier on Wednesday.