PRESIDENT Barack Obama warned after talks with his Republican foes on Thursday that both sides stood ‘far apart’ on how to avert an early August US debt default and called new negotiations for Sunday.

‘We’ll hopefully be in a position to then start engaging in the hard bargaining that’s necessary to get a deal done,’ Mr Obama said after hosting Senate and House of Representatives leaders at the White House.

The president told reporters that the two sides were ‘frank’ and ‘discussed the various options available to us’ to forge an accord on raising the US debt limit while closing the yawning government deficit.

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