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Greece's Tsipras heads to Brussels for bailout talks with EU Commission head

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to meet with EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker after months of fruitless negotiations. But a final deal still isn't expected despite a looming IMF payment deadline.

Tsipras submitted

Athens' reform plan

on Monday and has yet to be addressed by

European leaders and international creditors, who met in Berlin to review the proposal

.

"So far we have not received comments on this proposal, nor any other document from the side of the institutional peers," Tsipras said ahead of talks in Brussels on Wednesday, referring to the country's creditors, namely the European Union (EU), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and European Central Bank (ECB).

Tsipras' trip to Brussels comes days before an expected IMF payment of 300 million euros ($333.72 million) scheduled for Friday.

The prime minister noted that his government's proposal "will enable Greece to escape economic asphyxiation, make room for recovery, and put an end to Grexit scenarios."

If Greece and its creditors can agree on a proposal to move forward after months of fruitless talks, it would unlock 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion) in much needed bailout funds for the Mediterranean country, which has had to seize funds from government enterprises to repay its debts.

"I am certain the leadership of Europe will do what must be done, it will join the side of realism," Tsipras said.

Greece 'to stay in'

President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, said the financial institution wanted a "strong agreement" with Greece to ensure it remains in the eurozone.

"The governing council of the ECB wants Greece to stay in the euro," Draghi told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

"But there should be a strong agreement, and a strong agreement is one that produces growth, that has social fairness but that is also fiscally sustainable and addresses the remaining sources or factors of financial instability in the financial sector," Draghi added.

'Not a concluding one'

However, Juncker's spokesperson said the talks were not expected to produce a final deal.

"We do not expect any final outcome tonight, this is a first discussion not a concluding one," spokesperson Margaritis Schinas told reporters during a news briefing on Wednesday.

"This is the moment for the negotiations to concentrate on the [essentials], [...] the remaining few issues where there are still differences," Schinas said.

ls/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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