PM: Failed talks could spark polls

Tsipras tries to rally MPs, says po­lit­i­cal will there to com­plete re­view, but he won’t yield to ‘ir­ra­tional de­mands’

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras yes­ter­day sought to rally SYRIZA MPs, say­ing that the gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to com­plet­ing a cur­rent bailout re­view but will not yield to “ir­ra­tional de­mands” and warn­ing that the fail­ure of talks could spark snap elec­tions.

In a speech to SYRIZA’s par­lia­men­tary group, Tsipras called on MPs to “mo­bi­lize,” en­cour­ag­ing them to lis­ten to the com­plaints of their aus­ter­ity-weary con­stituents but also to de­fend the gov­ern­ment’s policy choices.

Com­par­ing his gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to a river cross­ing, Tsipras said, “We are in the mid­dle, we will swim and get out at the other bank.”

As re­gards ne­go­ti­a­tions with Greece’s cred­i­tors, Tsipras ex­pressed op­ti­mism that they would be com­pleted soon. “It is re­al­is­tic but also en­tirely necessary for the ne­go­ti­a­tions to fin­ish soon,” he said, re­it­er­at­ing that the De­cem­ber 5 Eurogroup re­mained the date on which euro­zone of­fi­cials are to spec­ify debt re­lief mea­sures. He said his gov­ern­ment has the “po­lit­i­cal will” to con­clude the bailout re­view. “But this does not mean that we could even en­ter dis­cus­sions on ir­ra­tional de­mands.”

Tsipras ac­cused the leader of the main con- ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy, Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis, of try­ing to push Greece into a fourth bailout and said the pos­si­ble col­lapse of ne­go­ti­a­tions that are cur­rently un­der way could spark snap elec­tions.

Mit­so­takis, for his part, told his MPs that po­lit­i­cal change was necessary as the fu­ture of the coun­try is at risk un­der the cur­rent gov­ern­ment. He ex­pressed fears that the bailout re­view might not be com­pleted by De­cem­ber 5.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment yes­ter­day, it emerged that a meet­ing of fi­nance min­is­ters of core euro­zone coun­tries that had been due to take place in Berlin to­mor­row in a bid to de­ter­mine what con­ces­sions might be of­fered to get the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund to join Greece’s third bailout had been can­celed. Ac­cord­ing to sources, the meet­ing was called off by Ger­man Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble, who was an­noyed that de­tails about the meet­ing had leaked to the me­dia.

Sep­a­rately yes­ter­day, Tsipras spoke to US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump by tele­phone, con­grat­u­lated him on his vic­tory and stressed the cru­cial role of Greece in an in­creas­ingly un­sta­ble re­gion.

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