Eurozone ministers, including its most powerful official Wolfgang Schäuble, are optimistic about reaching a bailout deal with Greece. But Athens will have to wait longer for a deal on future debt relief.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he was confident that Greece will win much-needed funds at bailout talks on Thursday.
Although Athens will likely have to wait for a long-desired agreement on debt relief, officials said it would at least receive more "clarity" on debt commitments down the road.
"I remain confident that we will find an agreement today on the payment of the latest tranche of Greece's bailout," Schäuble said as he arrived for talks in Luxembourg to discuss the delayed Greek bailout with his eurozone counterparts.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde and the eurozone's 19 finance ministers are meeting with hopes riding high that the talks will secure the release of the latest segment of Greece's 86 billion euro ($97 billion) bailout agreed in 2015.
'Access to the markets'
Schaeuble: "I remain confident that we will find an agreement on the payment of the latest tranche of Greece's bailout."
Bitter disagreement between Germany and the International Monetary Fund has held up the payout of a fresh tranche for Athens to meet seven billion euros of debt repayments due in July.
"It's a question of goodwill and it's a question of willingness. If everyone around the table makes a very slight and positive move in the right direction we should be able to find an agreement today," said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
The IMF, which took part in Greece's two previous bailouts, has long insisted that more debt relief be part of a deal.
"I think that the IMF has to make their decision - in or out," said Hans Joerg Schelling, Austria finance minister.
"It is important for Greece to have access to the markets and therefore in my opinion they have to say yes or no," he said.
Debt talks are expected to begin this year, with Schelling suggesting it could be as early as October.
mds (AFP, Reuters)