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Argentina's economy minister says government is optimistic about new offer to pay Paris Club

Economy Minister Axel Kicillof talks during a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Kicillof informed about his meeting with Paris Club executives to discuss procedures regarding Argentina’s debt which has not has not been payed since 2002. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

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Economy Minister Axel Kicillof talks during a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Kicillof informed about his meeting with Paris Club executives to discuss procedures regarding Argentina’s debt which has not has not been payed since 2002. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentina has presented a formal offer to members of the Paris Club on paying some $10 billion of debt it still owes to the group of creditor nations, the economy minister said Tuesday.

The government is "very optimistic" that the negotiations will lead to new sources of international funding, Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said, declining to give details of the proposal.

Argentina has been kept from global capital markets since defaulting on some $100 billion in debts during the country's 2001-2002 economic collapse. The government uses its currency reserves to meet its foreign debt payments and to buy fuel overseas, and the reserves have been dwindling.

Kicillof spoke to reporters in Buenos Aires after returning from a trip to the French capital where he met with Paris Club officials.

"The meeting was extremely positive within a process of renegotiating the debt that has several steps," Kicillof said. "Yesterday we took the first step: Argentina met with the Paris Club secretary and president and exchanged positions on reaching an agreement."

Kicillof said the offer to the Paris Club is within Argentina's payment possibilities. He declined to provide details on the total amount owed and the terms of the payment, arguing that could affect the negotiations.

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