UPDATE 1-Argentina creditor groups criticize lack of gov't engagement in debt talks
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BUENOS AIRES, June 30 (Reuters) - Two major Argentine creditor groups said on Tuesday that there had been "no meaningful engagement" between themselves and the country's government since June 17, when talks to restructure around $65 billion in debts stalled.
Argentina, which defaulted on foreign bond payments in May, is racing to restructure its debts, which have become unsustainable after two straight years of recession, to avoid a messy and protracted legal standoff with creditors.
After months of talks, the two sides had come close in terms of valuation of a deal in June before hitting roadblocks with some distance still between proposals and focus turning to disagreements over the legal terms of an agreement.
The Ad Hoc and Exchange creditor groups said in a joint statement that there had been little communication with Argentine officials since then, though they remained ready "to engage constructively to reach a consensual agreement."
"The lack of serious engagement from the Argentine authorities is deeply concerning," said the two groups, which combined hold around $21 billion of Argentine bonds and include names like BlackRock, AllianceBernstein and Fidelity.
"Time is of the essence and all parties should be focused on avoiding the devastating legal and economic costs of a prolonged default," the groups added.
Argentine over-the-counter bonds, which plummeted last year amid rising fears over a potential default, edged down 0.5% on Tuesday following a recent rally over hopes that a deal will eventually be struck. (Reporting by Adam Jourdan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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