Germany is no longer insisting on a bond swap that would extend Greek debt maturities by seven years as it pushes for a contribution from private bondholders to a new aid deal for Athens, the Financial Times reported.

Citing officials in Berlin, the newspaper said Germany believed the urgency of bailing in private holders of Greek debt had diminished because the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had signaled it was ready to support disbursement of the next 12 billion euro aid tranche to Greece.

A German government spokesman declined to comment on the report and officials in the finance ministry were not immediately available.

Pressed at a news conference on Wednesday about whether Germany was still insisting on Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's idea of a bond swap, his spokesman Martin Kotthaus refused to answer directly, saying only that Berlin wanted a substantial, quantifiable private sector contribution.

Schaeuble wrote to his euro zone colleagues and the heads of the ECB and IMF last week, demanding that the banks that hold Greek bonds be asked to swap their bonds for new ones with maturities seven years longer.

Rating agencies have said such a step would be akin to a default and the ECB, European Commission and France have been pushing for a softer solution involving a voluntary debt rollover.

Officials have acknowledged that divisions within the euro zone over how Greece's private creditors should be made to contribute to a new aid deal could delay a decision beyond an EU summit scheduled for next week.

(Writing by Noah Barkin; Editing by John Stonestreet)