BRUSSELS (AFP) - The leaders of Greece, Germany and France agreed Thursday to intensify efforts for a bailout deal after late night talks aimed at preventing Athens from going bankrupt ended without a breakthrough.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande on the sidelines of an EU-Latin American summit in Brussels in a bid to hammer out a reform plan after five months of stalemate.
Pressure mounted after Standard & Poor's further cut its rating for Greek government bonds after the cash-strapped country delayed a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund last week.
"We decided to intensify efforts to resolve the differences that remain and to move towards a solution," radical leftist leader Mr Tsipras told reporters after the three-way meeting broke up without a deal.
"The European leaders realised that we must offer a viable solution and the chance for Greece to return to growth."
Ms Merkel and Mr Hollande left without commenting, but a German government statement stuck to the same line, saying the leaders had agreed the talks "must be intensified".
Greece's creditors have refused to release the last 7.2 billion euros (S$10.9 billion) remaining in its EU-IMF bailout, which is due to expire on June 30, unless Athens agrees to tougher reforms.
Without the cash Greece will be unable to pay its foreign debts, having already had to tap up local municipalities to meet earlier commitments, and a default could send it crashing out of the euro.
Mr Tsipras is set to hold further talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday, after meeting him briefly on the sidelines of the summit on Wednesday.
The Greek premier's anti-austerity Syriza party won elections in January with a promise to end the "humanitarian crisis" caused by five years of austerity imposed under two international bailouts since 2010. Athens has strongly rejected many reforms, such as pension reforms and changes to Greece's sales tax, creating a stand-off with its creditors.
Time is now running out for a deal as any agreement must be approved by finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone at a meeting in Luxembourg on June 18, and then voted on by several national parliaments.
Wednesday's trilateral meeting was a bid to breathe new life into the stalling debt talks.