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Greece enters 'final stretch' of reform talks, says PM

Greece has entered the "final stretch" of negotiations with international lenders over a potential reform agreement, according to the country's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Credit: Aswestopoulos Wassilis/ABACA

According to Reuters, Tsipras told his party's central committee: "We are on the final stretch of a painful period shaped by the government's negotiations with the institutions.

"We have made concessions but we also have red lines."

Tsipras' comments came as he returned from Riga where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to ask for a political push to break the deadlock between European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors over Greece's bailout deal.

Greece finance minister: Bail-out deal is close

Credit: Reuters

Greece's finance minister has said he expects an agreement with bail-out creditors within the next week, which would save the country from fast-approaching bankruptcy.

"I think we are very close," Yanis Varoufakis said. "Let's say (it's a matter) of about a week."

Greece, which is facing a liquidity crunch that could see it go bankrupt within weeks and possibly leave the shared euro currency, has to secure a deal with creditors to get a delayed bailout loan - worth €7.2 billion (£5.2bn) - that will help it pay upcoming debts.


'Greece tapped emergency funds to make debt repayment'

Greece has reportedly tapped into its emergency IMF account in order to source enough cash to make its first debt repayment, officials have revealed.

According to Reuters officials confirmed 650 million euros were taken from the country's holding fund, money which will have to be put back within "several weeks", and 100 million euros were collected from cash reserves to make today's payment.

  1. Richard Edgar

Greece repays 0.75bn euros a day earlier than expected

It took everyone by surprise when Greece stumped up three-quarters of a billion euros a day earlier than expected. Normally, these things go to the wire, because cash really is in very short supply in the country.

Perhaps it was a signal to the ministers gathering here that Greece really is trying to sort itself, that it wants to negotiate in good faith.

Now, that may be, but it's only one of the hurdles that the country faces this summer - a long list of bills that it has to pay. It needs a breakthrough here.

Today I think it inched closer to that, but tonight Greece is still in a precarious position.

Greece hopes for a EU deal on debt 'within days'

Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis laid out the hope that a deal could be secured "within days" though his partners in the eurozone appeared more sceptical. Finance ministers have said that Greece appears to have made some progress in bailout talks with its European creditors but the chances of an immediate deal look slim.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (centre) in Brussels. Credit: PA

Greece, which is facing a liquidity crunch that could see it go bankrupt within weeks and possibly leave the shared euro currency, has to secure a deal with creditors to get a delayed bailout loan - worth 7.2 billion euro (£5.2bn) - that will help it pay upcoming debts. As they arrived for a meeting in Brussels, finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone said progress has been made since their last such meeting in April ended in acrimony.

EU officials: Statement expected on Greek debt progress

Two EU officials have said that Euro zone finance ministers are set tol issue a short statement on Greece. They are expected to welcome progress made so far with creditors but will also warn that more time and effort is needed to overcome difficulties in talks with creditors, the officials told Reuters.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufaki is in Brussels. Credit: PA

In a statement, one said: "There will be a short statement and it will refer to the progress made and the work ahead, welcoming the Greek's intention to accelerate their work."

Another official said that "more time and effort is needed to bridge the gaps" in talks to avoid a Greek default.


Greece demanding recognition over finance negotiations

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis ahead of Monday's meeting in Brussels Credit: Reuters

Greece is demanding Eurozone finance ministers to acknowledge progress in difficult negotiations on a cash-for-reform deal, which the country hopes will unlock short-term borrowing to ease its acute financing crunch.

However, sources familiar with European Central Bank thinking said there was still too little advance on key issues and too much uncertainty for the bank to allow the Greek government to sell more short-term Treasury bills.

Greece is due to make a crucial 750 million euro debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday and is running out of money to keep paying wages and pensions.

But government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told reporters Athens was not linking the IMF payment to the outcome of Monday's Eurogroup meeting in Brussels or considering any "plan B".

"What it wants from today's Eurogroup is to have on record that considerable progress has been made in the talks," he said.

Greece asks Germany for €279bn in war reparations

Germany owes Greece nearly €279 billion (£203.5 billion) in damages from World War II, Greece's deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas has said.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Credit: Reuters

This is the first time the Greek government has quantified its reparation claims for the Nazi occupation of the country.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras set up a parliamentary panel last week, seeking to claim German debts.

These include war reparations, the repayment of a so-called occupation loan that Nazi Germany forced the Bank of Greece to make and the return of stolen archaeological treasures.

The campaign for compensation has gained momentum in the past few years as the European Union and International Monetary Fund have imposed austerity measures on the country in exchange for bailouts totalling €240 billion to save Greece from bankruptcy.

Germany has repeatedly rejected Greece's claims. It says it has honoured its obligations, including a 115 million deutschmark payment to Greece in 1960.

Greece confirms date for loan repayment to IMF

Greece has confirmed it will make its payment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 9.

There had been fears that Athens would default on its loan repayment, but in a meeting between finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and the IMF's Christine Lagarde on Sunday.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Lagarde said the IMF would continue working with Greece to help it return to sustainable growth, and said both sides had agreed that "effective cooperation" was in everyone's interest.

Policy discussions will resume in Brussels in the morning, she added.

Greece and IMF set for further finance talks

Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is due to meet with the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde on Sunday to continue discussions of the planned reforms that Athens hopes will unlock the bailout funds Greece needs.

The finance ministry and the IMF confirmed Varoufakis and Lagarde would be meeting in Washington for "an informal discussion".

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