Italy's Padoan 'confident' on Greek accord

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Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan held talks with Eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem in Rome on Friday. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP
12:37 CEST+02:00
Eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem played down hopes of an imminent deal on Greece's debt, saying a meeting of finance ministers of the single currency on Monday was unlikely to be conclusive.

"We need more time," the Dutch finance minister said after talks with his Italian counterpart Pier Carlo Padoan in Rome on Friday.

Greece is hoping the meeting will make a "positive statement" on negotiations with its creditors that will allow for €7.2 billion ($8.1 billion) in remaining bailout loans to be released, officials have said.

Dijsselbloem said an easing of Greece's debt burden as proposed by the EU in November 2012 remained on the table, as long as Athens complied with the conditions attached to it in terms of structural reforms.

"That agreement, that promise of November 2012 is still valid, but it does have its conditions, first, that the programme must be successful," the Dutch minister said.

Padoan said: "It is difficult to predict the outcome of Monday's meeting but I am confident we will reach an accord within a reasonable timeframe."

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Greece has been squeezing funds from the central and local governments to be able to meet its international loan payments, with concerns that within a matter of weeks it could default and face a messy exit from the euro.

Sources in Athens have told AFP that the €750 million due on Tuesday to the IMF will be paid.

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