11:20 GMT05 March 2021
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    Greece's Gordian Knot: Syriza Tackles Austerity (404)
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    The Greek finance minister noted progress in talks with Athens' international creditors although no agreement had been finalized.

    ATHENS (Sputnik) – Negotiations between the Greek government and four of its international and European lenders have been suspended for a week on Tuesday for the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) spring meetings, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said.

    "After all these discussions, it was decided that today we will take a break, so that all went to Washington. Everyone – the four lending institutions and the Greek government – agree that progress has been made in harmonizing a mutually acceptable package and the completion of the agreement. They'll be back right after Washington, on Monday to reach an agreement before the April 22 Eurogroup," Tsakalotos told reporters late Monday after the latest marathon session.

    The third tranche of financial aid for Greece remains locked without lenders’ positive assessment of Athens’ state reforms ahead of major repayments expected this summer.

    The review came into question after a leaked transcript of a phone call between IMF European Department chief Poul Thomsen and IMF Mission Chief for Greece Delia Velculescu suggested agreement that a threat of imminent financial catastrophe was needed to make Athens commit to tighter austerity.

    Tsakalotos noted that progress had been achieved on many issues, although no agreement had been reached yet. The sides continue to disagree over taxation, as well as pension and social security reforms.

    "We will come to an agreement on the state level shortly before the Eurogroup. There is very great progress on many issues. But since there are many other small issues to discuss that we did not have time, it became apparent that it was impossible to reach an agreement at the personnel level before dawn today," he stressed.

    Greece's international creditors signed an agreement with Athens in August 2015, approving a third bailout package worth about 86 billion euros ($96 billion) in exchange for highly unpopular austerity reforms, including pension cuts and tax hikes.

    The 2016 IMF spring meetings kick off on Friday, April 15, and wrap up on Sunday, April 17.

    Greece's Gordian Knot: Syriza Tackles Austerity (404)


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