Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Athens says the near agreement, European officials deny – The Obs

Lefteris Papadimas

ATHENS (Reuters) – The Greek government said Wednesday that work on drafting a draft agreement with the creditors had begun, paving the way for the release of financial assistance, but European officials quickly denied the remarks, saying it is rather wishful thinking.

Without agreement between Greece and its lenders on a program reforms, Athens may default in payment or bankruptcy, in the space of a few weeks.

Greece must repay € 300 million to the International Monetary Fund on June 5 and several government officials say that it lacks the means to do so.

Further discussions were started in Brussels on Wednesday and a senior Greek government official said Greece and its creditors had started drafting a project agreement along the lines of Athens, who does not want to hear about a reduction of wages and pensions and wants a low primary surplus target at first.

“In Group Brussels today, the procedures for drafting an agreement at the beginning negotiators, “said he said in reference to the talks between Athens, the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF.

He added that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would be in constant contact with other leaders to reach an agreement.

The Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said, however, that Greece and its creditors were still far from agreement. “We are working very intensively in order to allow an agreement at the expert level. We have not yet reached,” said he said.

Other officials in the euro area were more direct. One of them said that the remarks of Athens made no sense. Another said: “If only it were true”

Speaking from Dresden, where there is a meeting of finance ministers of the Group of Seven (G7), a source in the delegation. German said that things had not progressed to seal the deal.

Euclid Tsakalotos, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the two sides not only discussed the Loopback conditions of the current aid program but also the conditions for additional help.

“The two negotiating processes are now combined, almost of themselves,” he does -he said, adding that the final decision on new aid for Greece and its economic future would take place within two weeks.

Alexis Tsipras himself said that his government was in ” last round “discussions and that the terms of an agreement would be presented shortly.

” We are in the final round, it is clear that the calm and determination are required, “he-t he told reporters after a ministerial meeting on the discussions. “We are not the only ones involved, we deal with three different agencies often have different views,” he he said.

(Deepa Babington, with Jan Strupczewski in Brussels and Renee Maltezou to Athens, Marc Angrand and Wilfrid Exbrayat for the French service, edited by Juliette Rouillon)


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