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Collapse of Icesave talks paves way for referendum

A referendum on whether Iceland should reimburse Britain and the Netherlands in the wake of the collapse of an Icelandic bank in 2008 looks set to go ahead after talks between the three countries fell through.


AFP - Iceland participated in new talks in London Thursday on how it should compensate Britain and the Netherlands for money lost in the collapse of an Icelandic bank in 2008, an Icelandic government spokesman said.

"The meeting is over and now the (Icelandic) negotiations committee is working on sorting out what was discussed," finance ministry spokesman Elias Jon Gudjonsson told AFP.

Iceland rejected a proposal from Britain and the Netherlands earlier this week on reimbursing the two countries for money they had allocated to compensate 320,000 British and Dutch savers victimised by the failure of the online Icesave bank in October 2008.

The president of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, has refused to sign legislation approved by parliament that would pay the two governments 3.8 billion euros (5.2 billion dollars) for their reimbursements.

Grimsson instead referred the issue to a referendum, citing public opposition, with the vote scheduled for March 6 and opinion polls foreseeing a rejection of the legislation.

It remained unclear whether Thursday's meeting brought the three parties any closer to an arrangement that could avert a referendum.

Gudjonsson refused to comment on whether any new offers had been placed on the table during the talks and said no further meetings had been scheduled.

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