Greeks demand end to creditor 'looting' after talks break down

By George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou

ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek government stuck to demands on Monday that its creditors propose less harsh terms for a cash-for-reforms deal after talks collapsed, bringing Athens one step closer to a default that could tip it out of the euro zone.

The latest in a series of negotiations broke down after the European Commission again dismissed proposals from the Greek side in Brussels over the weekend. Creditors said Athens had failed to offer anything new to secure funding to repay 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund by the end of June.

Following what it called a last attempt at a solution, the Commission said euro zone finance ministers would address the issue when they meet on Thursday. Fed up with years of austerity, Athens has balked at demands to raise taxes and cut pensions in order to narrow its fiscal deficit.

In his first public comments since the talks broke down, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday said Greece would wait for its creditors to become more realistic and accused them of making unreasonable demands for political ends.

"One can only see a political purposefulness in the insistence of creditors on new cuts in pensions after five years of looting under the bailouts," Tsipras said in a statement to Greek newspaper Ton Syntakton.

"We will await patiently until the institutions accede to realism," he said. "We do not have the right to bury European democracy at the place where it was born."

Tsipras will meet his negotiating team later on Monday, a Greek local radio station reported.

A spokesman for Greece's ruling Syriza party said the country would not back down from its previous negotiating position while also stressing that the government would not abandon the talks.

European leaders have piled pressure on Greece in recent days to come up with a proposal acceptable to its creditors. European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen continued in that vein on Monday, telling an Austrian newspaper that the ball remained in Greece's court to find a solution.

Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis retorted in an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper that it was possible to reach a deal quickly if Chancellor Angela Merkel took part in the talks. He also ruled out the chance of a "Grexit" because it was not a sensible solution.

(Writing by Matthias Williams; editing by John Stonestreet)