Greece has reached a preliminary deal with lenders that Athens believes should pave the way for long-awaited debt relief talks. The government had earlier agreed to more pension and tax break cuts.
Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said Tuesday his country had struck a preliminary accord with its creditors, saying that debt relief talks could now begin soon.
"The negotiations are concluded," the minister said after overnight talks in Athens and ahead of a crucial May 22 meeting of eurozone finance ministers, which are to approve the deal.
Tsakalotos added he was certain that the agreement would enable his country to secure debt relief measures, which he called vital to spearhead the eurozone nation's economic recovery.
Time's running out
A compromise is required to unblock a tranche of loans Greece needs for debt repayments of 7 billion euros ($7.6 billion) in July.
Athens had agreed earlier this month to more spending cuts worth 3.6 billion euros in 2019 and 2020. The fresh pension and tax break reductions came in return for permission to spend an equivalent sum on poverty relief measures.
Greece's debt in 2016 stood at almost 315 billion euros or 179 percent of overall output, up from 177.4 percent a year earlier.
Athens hopes to be finally allowed access to the European Central Bank's asset purchase program to help it return to bond markets.
The International Monetary Fund has so far refused to take part in a new bailout program, saying savings targets for Athens were unrealistic and the nation's debt volume "unsustainable."
hg/jd (AFP, dpa)