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Greece optimistic about solution on debt relief in eurozone's June meeting

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Greece's Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos looks on during a meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers at the European Council in Brussels on May 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Greece’s finance minister has expressed confidence that the upcoming eurozone meeting would bring about a solution to the country’s debt issue.

"We are getting close to the time when a decision needs to be taken," Tsakalotos said, adding, "We're looking for a good solution. We're not looking for a perfect solution. I'm confident we'll get a good solution," Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters on Monday.

He also called on the creditors to shoulder more responsibility regarding Greece’s financial problems in the middle of an international bailout program and to not leave the entire issue with the debt-stricken country.

"The pressure is on all sides ... don't procrastinate at the cost of the Greek economy," Tsakalotos said, adding, "The (creditors) differ on what is necessary. Why should that be a problem for the Greek side? We've done our side.”

Greece’s creditors -- the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European lenders -- have been stuck in disagreements about how the country should be assisted on its path to financial recovery.

The IMF argues that Greece’s debt should be lightened if the Europeans want the New York-based fund to contribute to a next bailout program, which is slated to start after 2018. 

Eurogroup President and The Netherlands' Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem (C) shakes hands with Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos Jurado as Greece's Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos looks on during a meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers  at the European Council in Brussels on May 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The eurozone has ruled out any debt write-off for Greece although it says an extension in repayment periods or reducing the interest rates on loans is possible if the country manages to fulfill its commitments at the end of the current bailout, which expires next year. The group, led by Germany and the Netherlands, insists there will be no other bailout without the participation of the IMF. It also says that the IMF is too optimistic in its forecast about Greece’s economic recovery.

Tsakalotos reiterated that Greece could not attract investors if they are not sure that the country could emerge of its debt.

"Everybody understands that to grow out of the crisis, eventually the investors must have confidence in the sustainability of Greek debt," he said, adding, "I don't see an appetite for not reaching a solution ... I don't think anybody wants a default.”

He said that without a debt restructure, Greece could not finish the current bailout and that it would hamper efforts to start a next bailout to help the country back on its foots after years of economic hardship.

"There is very little point in entering a (bailout) program if the goal is not to leave the program. And leaving the program should be the responsibility not just of the debtor country but the creditor country as well,” Tsakalotos said.

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