Lew backs debt re­lief, Greek role in re­gion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Amid the un­rest in the Mid­dle East and the po­lit­i­cal tur­moil in Turkey, Athens’s bid to en­trench it­self as an an­chor of sta­bil­ity in the wider re­gion re­ceived a boost yes­ter­day from vis­it­ing US Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Ja­cob Lew, who stressed the im­por­tance of mak­ing Greece’s debt sus­tain­able in or­der to bol­ster the coun­try’s geopo­lit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

“The sooner these is­sues [with Greek debt] are re­solved the bet­ter... My view of the geopo­lit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of Greece is not new," said Lew, who made a stop in Athens yes­ter­day for talks with Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras and lead­ing bank­ing of­fi­cials on his way to China for a meet­ing of G20 fi­nance min­is­ters and bank gov­er­nors.

Debt re­struc­tur­ing, he said, was cru­cial for the coun­try’s eco­nomic fu­ture.

“Our po­si­tion has been clear for quite some time,” Lew said, ar­gu­ing that achiev­ing debt sus­tain­abil­ity and sta­bil­ity were key to long-term eco­nomic growth.

“I en­cour­age all par­ties to be flex­i­ble to suc­cess­fully con­clude this fall’s ne­go­ti­a­tions," he said.

Lew also ex­pressed hope that the debt is­sue is re­solved be­fore US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama leaves of­fice and praised Greece for the progress it has made in im­ple­ment­ing re­forms, which, how­ever, he said, must con­tinue so as to per­suade euro­zone and IMF cred­i­tors to open debt re­lief talks.

“Com­plet­ing the work, con­tin­u­ing to im­ple­ment pri­va­ti­za­tion, do­ing the work that’s needed to ad­dress the non-per­form­ing loans will very much strengthen the po­si­tion that Greece brings in to a ne­go­ti­a­tion in the com­ing months,” Lew said.

Tsipras said that it was more im­por­tant than ever now for Greece’s part­ners to show sol­i­dar­ity so that it can pick it­self up and play an even stronger role as a bas­tion of sta­bil­ity in a re­gion be­set by in­sta­bil­ity.

“Now is the right time to send the right mes­sages to in­vestors and mar­kets with sub­stan­tial mea­sures for sig­nif­i­cant debt re­lief so that we can sup­port the econ­omy and strengthen Greece’s role as a pil­lar of sta­bil­ity in a volatile re­gion,” Tsipras said wel­com­ing Lew.

Lew did not take a stance on whether Greece’s pri­mary bud­get sur­pluses should be re­duced – a key de­mand of the gov­ern­ment – de­fer­ring the sub­ject to the dis­cus­sions be­tween Athens and its cred­i­tors.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.