Greece acknowledged yesterday it was having trouble persuading its foreign lenders to accept a plan to save nearly €12bn over the next two years, essential to unlocking the aid payments the country needs in order to avoid bankruptcy. Hopes that Greece, now in its fifth straight year of recession, might get a quick green light on the package were dashed when inspectors rejected part of it after bilateral talks resumed on Sunday. There appeared to be little progress at a second round of talks yesterday between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the ‘troika’ of inspectors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “It is a difficult discussion,” Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said after the meeting. “We are trying to convince them on the soundness of our positions.” Troika officials rejected some of the proposed measures to cut public sector expenses and wanted a bolder plan to reduce the number of civil servants, a senior Greek official said. Slashing public sector jobs is a highly sensitive subject in Greece, where the constitution bars firing civil servants. From gulf times.