ATHENS, Greece (AP) - A senior official in the Greek government says long-awaited negotiations with creditors to try and make the country's national debt sustainable could start as early as next month and would likely last to the fall or beyond.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) A senior official in the Greek government says long-awaited negotiations with creditors to try and make the country's national debt sustainable could start as early as next month and would likely last to the fall or beyond.

The official spoke Wednesday after a meeting of European finance ministers in Athens and asked not to be identified because the two sides are still awaiting the official publication of Greece's 2013 budget deficit figures later this month.

Experts say Greece could, among other things, get more time to repay its bailout loans or lower interest rates.

Greece said Tuesday it plans to return to bond markets in the first half of the year, while eurozone countries backed the payment of a delayed rescue loan installment worth 8.3 billion euros ($11.4 billion).