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Image: Reuters/Y. Behrakis

'Bailout deal within reach' for Greece

August 7, 2015

The leaders of France and Greece have said Athens and its creditors could, and should, reach a deal by the end of the month. The two European leaders met on the sidelines of ceremony for the expanded Suez Canal.


Crisis-ridden Greece needs a deal that will unlock bailout funds by August 20, when it must repay some 3.4 billion euros ($3.7 billion) due to the European Central Bank.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, French President Francois Hollande said an accord could and should be reached this month.

"We know it's difficult but we must make sure that the conditions are met, in a good spirit," Hollande said. "For now I believe the atmosphere is right and discussions are going in the best of directions."

His remarks came on the sidelines of the opening ceremonies marking the expansion of the Suez Canal in Egypt.

Fruitful talks

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, under pressure from a sizeable faction within his own leftist party, is battling accusations that the rescue package he agreed to last month piles further austerity on a weakened economy and goes against the government's campaign pledges.

But the prime minister reported fruitful talks with his French counterpart and has sought to brush off criticism.

"The two leaders agreed that the negotiations can and must be concluded immediately after August 15," Tsipras' office said in a statement.

'Bailout deal within reach'

Earlier this week Tsipras said that talks in Athens between Greek ministers and senior representatives of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund were nearly completed.

The Greek economy is suffering from the effects of capital controls imposed at the end of June, when talks with the creditors collapsed to avert a run on the banks.

The economy is expected to contract by around 3 percent this year, according to official data released on Thursday. In addition, a quarter of Greek workers remain unemployed, including over 51 percent of those aged under 25.

jar/cmk (Reuters, AFP)

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