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FinMin Stournaras, IMF's Thomsen speak of substantial progress in talks

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Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said late Tuesday night that negotiations with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'Troika' of Greece's international lenders on a new 13.5 billion euro austerity package over the next two years (2013-2014) registered a "very important progress over the past months" although "some issues remain pending, on which we expect to reach agreement in the coming days."

"As regards labour market issues, there was an initiative on the part of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and in the coming days (Labour Minister Yiannis) Vroutsis will propose solutions on issues that have come up," Stournaras said in a written statement following the end of talks with the troika at the Finance ministry in the presence of Labour Minister Yiannis Vourtis. "The timetable of actions remains as is," he added.

"As regards the troika, despite any tensions over these two months of tough negotiations, they have shown a spirit of good cooperation, and have proposed compromising solutions, and I am convinced that they do the best in their power to find solutions to the difficult problems which really exist...I am optimistic that things will progress according to our wishes," Stournaras concluded.  

On his part, International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative Poul Thomsen said that agreement between the two sides “was reached on most policy issues, and we have made significant progress.” He added, that “the few issues pending would soon be agreed upon.” 

The heads of the troika delegation are scheduled to leave Athens on Wednesday. They will return to the Greek capital next week to resume talks with government ministers on a package of austerity measures required to give the green light to the disbursement of a 31.5-billion-euro trance form an EU-IMF rescue loan.  

SOURCE: ATHENS NEWS AGENCY

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