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Greece in "final stretch" to achieve debt deal with int'l lenders: PM
Greece was "in the final stretch" to achieve a deal on the resolution of the Greek debt crisis with its international lenders in following days, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday in Athens.
The Greek Premier expressed optimism over the eventual signing of a mutually beneficial agreement soon, after four months of marathon deliberations, while delivering a speech at the annual general meeting of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).
The Leftist leader blamed the delay -- without elaborating -- on "forces with divisive plans for Europe" among creditors which raised obstacles.
Tsipras assured that his government was working hard to meet all its financial obligations and achieve a deal.
According to Greek government sources, Athens hopes that a draft deal could be clinched even before Thursday's European Union summit in Latvia and that an emergency Euro Group could ratify it this Friday.
In regards to the liquidity shortage of this spring that has refueled scenarios of an imminent possible Greek default and Grexit as early as June, the Greek leader said that this was not his government's responsibility rather than the result of the hard bargaining stance of creditors.
Tsipras repeated on Monday his government's argument that any viable deal should be addressing the shortages of the past two bailouts.
He called for an end to cuts on salaries and pensions and requested low primary budget surpluses to allow some breathing space to recession-hit Greek households and enterprises.
Moreover, he called for a debt restructuring and a generous European investment program and the establishment of a new national Development Bank to support growth.
"The Greek economy cannot depend indefinitely on outside funding," the Greek premier stressed.
He appeared confident that after the achievement of an agreement the ailing Greek economy will witness a strong momentum of investments that will help it stand on its feet.
SEV's President Theodoros Fessas shared the view, assuring that there are dozens of investment plans by Greek and foreigners who are awaiting for months for the political and economic environment to stabilize before proceeding.
The announcement itself that a deal has been achieved will clear the way to a new era of hope, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said addressing the same forum, adding that the positive outcome was close.
On the content of the deal, Greek government sources and the European Commission spokesperson dismissed a report printed on a Greek daily on Monday that all parts received a few hours ago a compromise proposal by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
According to "Vima" (Tribune) daily, Juncker proposed the disbursement of emergency international funding in June in exchange for a first list of measures aiming to generate about 5 billion euros (5.67 billion U.S. dollars) to cover the fiscal gap for 2015 and 2016. A comprehensive agreement should follow by autumn according to the report.
[Source: Xinhua, Athens, 18May15]
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