A group of European finance officials met in Paris today to try to forge a common position on Greece's next aid payment as a sputtering economy and a spat with the International Monetary Fund cloud efforts to resolve the crisis.

Finance officials from France, Germany, Italy and Spain convened a day before a meeting of the 17 euro nations in Brussels, according to a European Union official. Lengthening maturities on Greek debt and lowering rates on the country's bailout loans are the main options being discussed to plug a funding gap, said the official, who declined to be named because the talks aren't public.

The discussions on Greece are "likely to be tense as all players set out their positions," Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered in London, said in an e-mail. "Greece's debt can is likely to be kicked further down the road, but we could see some constructive statements."

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