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Argentina minister NY-bound to talk about debt at UN

Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof will soon head to New York to discuss his country's debt situation with representatives of the Group of 77 developing nations plus China, the government said.

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof will soon head to New York to discuss his country's debt situation with representatives of the Group of 77 developing nations plus China, the government said on Tuesday.

His trip comes after a US federal judge appointed a Manhattan attorney to preside over talks between Argentina and hedge fund bondholders as Buenos Aires seeks to avoid defaulting on its debt in a week's time.

Kicillof will speak to the G77 representatives at the United Nations about "sovereign debt restructuring, recent court decisions and the actions being taken by the Republic of Argentina," the foreign ministry said.

The session to which Kicillof was invited is due to take place on Wednesday at 3:00 pm (1900 GMT).

The government of President Cristina Kirchner would not confirm if Kicillof was planning to join the negotiations in connection with Argentina's court battle.

New York district court judge Thomas Griesa on Monday named Daniel Pollack as "special master" to oversee talks, after Buenos Aires asked him to organize negotiations with its creditors.

The move raised hopes that a deal could be concluded before a June 30 deadline for Buenos Aires to pay back possibly billions of dollars to creditors, a week after the US Supreme Court turned down the country's last-ditch appeal against bondholders it labels "vultures."

Pollack told AFP: "I am moving with the utmost rapidity possible."

The Supreme Court's ruling means the country must pay the hedge funds - "holdouts" from its 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring - the full value of their bonds at the time it makes its next regular debt payment, scheduled for the end of this month.

Buenos Aires had warned that the ruling has put it in the position of defaulting on its debt for the second time in 13 years.

The case pits Argentina against hedge funds who refused to take part in a restructuring of the debt on which Buenos Aires defaulted in 2001.

While the two funds which sued Argentina in the case, NML Capital and Aurelius Management, hold about US$1.3 billion worth of bonds, Argentina says the court decision would force it to pay all holdouts, more than US$15 billion.

That is more than half of the country's foreign exchange reserves.

In addition to asking Griesa to help organize negotiations, Kicillof has said the country wants him to place a stay on implementing the court decision, which would give the talks more time.

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