BRUSSELS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - A draft statement by euro zone finance ministers on how to handle Greece's finances spoke of "extending" its current bailout deal as a "bridge" to a new package, according to a copy of the draft that was rejected by Athens.
The new Greek government, elected on a mandate to end deeply unpopular international bailout terms, has insisted there can be no "extension" once that deal expires at the end of the month. But EU partners fear financial chaos without such an accord.
A draft of the planned Eurogroup statement, seen by Reuters, read: "The Greek authorities have agreed to work closely and constructively with the institutions to explore the possibilities for extending and successfully concluding the present programme taking into account the new government's plans.
"If this is successful this will bridge the time for the Greek authorities and the Eurogroup to work on possible new contractual arrangements." (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)