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Greek capital controls discussed, Belgian finance minister says

[BRUSSELS] Euro-area finance chiefs discussed the possible introduction of capital controls in Greece and were split over the matter, said Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt.

The issue arose at a meeting on Monday in Brussels that was attended by euro-area finance ministers, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Mr Van Overtveldt said after the gathering that focused on new Greek proposals to unlock emergency aid.

"The theme of capital controls came on the table, but the discussion on that was not conclusive," Mr Van Overtveldt said in an interview. "Not everybody was on the same wave length with respect to capital controls."

The Greek government has rejected the option of introducing capital controls even as it runs out of cash, the country's banks bleed deposits at a record pace and international creditors seek more budget-discipline pledges from the government in Athens as part of any funding agreement.

Asked whether some participants in the meeting argued for capital controls in Greece while other participants were against, Mr Van Overtveldt said: "You can more or less say it like that."

With euro-area heads of government due to meet this evening in Brussels to discuss Greece and European Union leaders set to gather on June 25-26 in the Belgian capital for a regular summit, Mr Van Overtveldt was cautious about the prospects for an aid agreement this week between Greece and its creditors.

"It's quite obvious that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to specify and to quantify," he said. "If it is done in the coming days, it would take a lot of hard and intensive work from all the parties involved."