TOKYO - Sri Lanka's major creditors such as Japan, India and France are likely to reach a broad agreement this month on debt reduction steps including extending repayments, the Sankei newspaper reported on Monday.
Sri Lanka has held multiple rounds of talks with bondholders and bilateral creditors including Japan, China and India on reworking its foreign debt after suspending repayments in May last year.
A group of Sri Lanka's major creditors including the United States, Japan and India want to sign a memorandum of understanding with the country around the time of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings later this month in Morocco.
China has resisted joining the group but it remains an observer.
"We are aiming to reach an agreement among creditor nations with or without China," a senior Japanese finance ministry official told Reuters, stopping short of confirming the report.
"We will do our best but we cannot tell yet if a deal is going to be reached this month. I personally think we can make it in time for IMF's annual meetings this month."
Sri Lanka has defaulted on its debt as terrorism and the coronavirus pandemic dealt a blow to the main industry of tourism for the island country, whose bilateral external debt stood at $11.3 billion as of the end of March 2023.
China, its largest single creditor, accounts for 42% of Sri Lanka's overall external debt, followed by Japan on 24%, India at 15% and France at 4%.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Kaori Kaneko, editing by Ed Osmond and Hugh Lawson)