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Argentine economy minister to meet debt case mediator in New York

Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof (2nd L) arrives on a flight from Buenos Aires at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York July 7, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Daniel Bases and Alejandro Lifschitz

NEW YORK/BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s Economy Minister, Axel Kicillof, will meet in New York with a court-appointed mediator in the country's dispute with holdout investors of its bonds at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, the Argentine Economy Ministry said.

The country needs to come to a deal with the holdouts who rejected its debt restructurings in the wake of its 2002 default on $100 billion, in order to avoid a fresh default.

The special master, Daniel Pollack, was appointed by U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in New York to find common ground in the years-long dispute.

Pollack walked into his office on Park Avenue in mid-morning, but declined to comment. "I have been very careful not to say anything," he told a Reuters reporter.

Kicillof has sealed a number of deals with foreign investors and creditors over the past few months, such as the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations and Spanish oil major Repsol in a bid to attract investment back to Argentina and regain access to global capital markets.

Argentina attempted to pay bondholders who participated in the debt restructurings in 2005 and 2010 a regularly scheduled coupon payment due at the end of June.

However, the funds deposited at the Bank of New York Mellon's account at the Central Bank of Argentina were ordered to be returned to the South American nation by Griesa. The judge had previously awarded holdout investors $1.33 billion plus interest and ordered that Argentina could not pay one without the other.

If a deal is not worked out by July 30, and Argentina does not make a payment it will be considered to have defaulted for a second time in 12 years.

The country's dollar-denominated discount bonds due in 2033 were lately down 0.438 in price to 86.229 cents, yielding 10.117 percent.

(Reporting by Alejandro Lifschitz in Buenos Aires and Daniel Bases in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish and W Simon)