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May 8, 2015 5:31 AM

Greek leader optimistic bailout deal will be reached soon

The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Greece's prime minister said Friday he is optimistic his cash-strapped country will soon reach an agreement with its international creditors, averting a potential default.

Speaking in Parliament, Alexis Tsipras said Greece was doing everything it could to reach a deal with its creditors in Europe and the International Monetary Fund.

"I am optimistic we will soon have a good outcome," he said.

Negotiations between Greece, other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund have faltered for months, since Tsipras' radical left government won January elections on promises of repealing budget austerity measures accompanying the country's bailout.

Greece desperately needs an agreement so creditors can release the final 7.2 billion euro ($8.1 billion) installment of its 240 billion euro bailout. It is scraping together reserves from local governments and state entities to be able to meet a repayment to the IMF next week and to pay pensions and salaries.

There had been hopes that the sides would reach a deal by Monday, when eurozone finance ministers meet. But both sides have lowered such expectations.

Tsipras said that whether a deal was reached was now a question of political will among the country's creditors.

"There is no technical issue of whether there will be an agreement. It is only (a question of) political will," Tsipras said.

Despite low expectations for a deal by Monday, creditors and Greece have both sounded more positive about the talks in recent days, saying progress was being made.

"In the last few days everyone has seen Greece is doing what it must to reach an agreement," Tsipras said.


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