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Greece demands creditors' consistency in debt deal negotiations
The Greek government intends to meet all its financial obligations inside the country and abroad in coming weeks, but needs the prompt support of international creditors who should show consistency so that a compromise deal on the Greek debt is reached in May, Greek government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis said on Monday.
"It is the government's responsibility to be consistent with its financing obligations domestically and abroad, but there should be also consistency on the part of our lenders," Sakellaridis said during a press briefing in a reference to the Feb. 20 Euro Group agreement commitments that would pave the way for a new deal this spring.
The Greek official was asked to comment on the latest international media reports that Athens could fail to repay the next loan installment to International Monetary Fund on June 5 without immediate aid from creditors after marginally making the previous one on May 12.
Sakellaridis indirectly confirmed media reports that a few days before the May 12 deadline Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had warned IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and other foreign officials that Greece would be unable to repay the 750-million-euro installement on time, if creditors would not somehow ease the pressure on Athens.
Tsipras allegedly asked for example a green light to the immediate increase of the issuance limit of treasury bills auctions.
Eventually Athens repaid the sum using emergency cash reserves, as negotiations with lenders have entered the fourth month.
"We never hid the fact that we are in constant contact with everybody," the government spokesman said on Monday.
Ahead of the new June 5 deadline and scenarios of a looming credit event, he assured that salaries of civil servants and pensions will be paid at the end of May.
He stressed however that Greece needs an agreement with creditors in May that would resolve "well known liquidity issues" to continue to meet its obligations.
Ahead of the next EU summit in Latvia this Thursday Sakellaridis repeated the red lines Athens has drawn as prerequisites for the achievement of a deal with its interlocutors - reasonable primary budget surplus targets, no more reductions of pensions and salaries, the implementation of a growth program and a debt restructuring.
The Greek official stressed that these prerequisites were fundamental elements in any reforms for cash agreement which will not make the same mistakes of the past five years of the Greek debt crisis.
Sakellaridis was also asked to comment on media reports that creditors were promoting the idea of issuing a Cyprus- style ultimatum to Greece to "take or leave" an agreement they would present to Athens. In spring of 2013 Cyprus rejected the terms of cooperation set by lenders and faced a bank deposit levy on all uninsured deposits.
Sakellaridis underlined on Monday that there will not be a Cyprus-like bail in Greece. He appeared confident that there will not be an ultimatum to Greece, adding that such a step would not help the dialogue for a mutually beneficial solution.
In case there will be any kind of ultimatum, the government would call a referendum, the Radical Left SYRIZA ruling party parliamentary group's spokesman Nikos Filis told Greek media.
[Source: By Maria Spiliopoulou, Xinhua, Athens, 18May15]
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