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Euro zone readies for Greek default

(Reuters) Greece’s European partners shut the door on extending a credit lifeline to Athens, leaving it facing a default that could push it out of the euro after the leftist government rejected tough lender demands and put their bailout deal to a referendum.

Finance ministers of the other 18 countries sharing the euro met for the first time without Greece and flatly rejected its pleas to extend an expiring bailout until after the referendum on July 5 and setting the stage for Athens to default on a crucial IMF payment on Tuesday.

The 18 pledged to do whatever it takes to stabilize the common currency area and said they were in much better shape to do so than at the height of the euro zone crisis a few years ago. In a formal statement, they also implicitly urged Greece to impose capital controls to stabilize its banking system.