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Greek Team's Reshuffle May Add to Early Debt Deal With Lenders – PM

© AP Photo / Petros GiannakourisGreece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attend a Presidential vote in Athens, on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attend a Presidential vote in Athens, on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that the shake-up of his country's negotiating team will help clinch a deal with its international creditors by May 9.

Greek national flags are on display at a shop in central Athens April 17, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Reshuffling Greece's negotiating team and sidelining the country's Finance Minister will help Athens strike an interim deal with its international creditors by May 9, according to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"I believe we are close. I believe that if no-one wants to undermine or torpedo [the talks] we are close to an accepted package," Tsipras was quoted as saying by media reports.

Rejecting the idea of snap elections in the event of the failure of the talks, Tsipras did not rule out the possibility of a referendum on a final deal.

"If the solution falls outside our mandate, I will not have the right to violate it, so the solution to which we will come to will have to be approved by the Greek people," he said.

He spoke as his country's ruling left-wing Syriza party tried to renegotiate the terms of Greece's 240-billion-euro bailout from the IMF and the EU. High on the agenda is the EU handing over the latest 7.2-billion-euro tranche of the bailout to Greece.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was sidelined from Greece's negotiating team after he was left isolated at an EU finance ministers' meeting in Latvia late last week. He even skipped a state dinner, tweeting a line from the late US President Franklin Roosevelt.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (R) shakes hands with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Director Christine Lagarde during an emergency Eurogroup finance ministers meeting at the European Council in Brussels on February 11, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Tsipras, for his part, touted Varoufakis as an important asset for Greece, saying that he had angered his European colleagues because he allegedly spoke their language better than they did.

On Monday, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos was put at the helm of a new group conducting talks with the country's international lenders.

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