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​Greece and creditors hit pause in their bailout talks

ATHENS, Greece -Greece and its bailout creditors on Tuesday suspended talks on the country's austerity program until next week, after a new set of marathon overnight negotiations failed to produce a breakthrough.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said the meetings in Athens would resume April 18, with an aim to reaching an agreement by April 22, when he is due to meet with his peers from the 19-country eurozone.

He said both Greece and its creditors -- other European countries and the International Monetary Fund -- agreed that some progress has been made.

The new pause in the talks, which were originally scheduled for completion last October, will allow officials participating in the negotiations to attend an IMF meeting in Washington this week.

Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili voiced optimism that an agreement can be found in time. "It is in the interest of all the parties involved," she said.

Greece's left-led government is hoping to conclude the talks as soon as possible because that would allow the beginning of negotiations with creditors on easing the country's crippling debt load.

The main sticking points are creditors' demands for cuts in pensions under a sweeping reform package designed to keep the tottering system alive, plus tax reform and the degree of protection accorded to individuals and companies struggling to repay their bank loans.

The country has depended on rescue loans since 2010 and signed up to a third bailout last summer after the government ditched its anti-bailout policies to prevent a disastrous Greek exit from the eurozone.

Gerovassili insisted that Greece would honor its bailout commitments, but she accused the IMF of dragging its feet during the negotiations.

The Labor Ministry said agreement or significant progress has been achieved on the proposed pension reforms, insisting that there will be no reductions in basic pensions. It also said Tuesday that its proposals for a core national pension of 384 euros ($438) have been accepted.

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