Greek gov­ern­ment says dis­cussing draft of third bailout deal

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

Greek gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials dis­cussed a draft of the coun­try's third bailout agree­ment drawn up on the ba­sis of dis­cus­sions with EU/IMF lenders, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said on Satur­day, boost­ing hopes a deal could be wrapped up in days.

Athens is rac­ing to wrap up the bailout agree­ment of as much as 86 bil­lion eu­ros ($94.35 bil­lion) by as early as Tues­day in a bid to get the first dis­burse­ment of aid by Aug. 20, when it faces a debt pay­ment to the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank.

Of­fi­cials from Euro­pean Union and In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund lenders met Greece's fi­nance and econ­omy min­is­ters in Athens on Satur­day, the day af­ter EU fi­nance of­fi­cials held a tele­con­fer­ence and noted progress in the talks.

The talks on Satur­day fo­cused on the so-called "prior ac­tions" Greece must leg­is­late to qual­ify for loans, and the two sides reached agree­ment on the is­sue, a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said with­out giv­ing de­tails. Talks will con­tinue on Sun­day to dis­cuss more con­tentious is­sues, the of­fi­cial said. "The agree­ment will be con­cluded com­fort­ably be­fore Aug.18," the of­fi­cial said.

Greece nar­rowly dodged a euro zone exit last month af­ter months of ac­ri­mo­nious ne­go­ti­a­tions that cul­mi­nated with Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras clinch­ing a deal tied to strin­gent aus­ter­ity and re­form terms to avoid eco­nomic col­lapse.

Since then ne­go­ti­a­tions on the agree­ment it­self - which will spell out de­tails of the re­forms and funds to be dis­bursed - have pro­ceeded re­mark­ably smoothly, with the lenders prais­ing Greece for its co­op­er­a­tion. The view of EU of­fi­cials on Fri­day's con­fer­ence call was that talks are pro­ceed­ing well and may be com­pleted over the week­end, one source fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said.

If a draft mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing and an up­dated debt sus­tain­abil­ity anal­y­sis are ready as planned on Tues­day, the Greek gov­ern­ment and par­lia­ment would be ex­pected to ap­prove them by Thurs­day.

This would open the way for euro zone fi­nance min­is­ters to meet or hold a tele­con­fer­ence on Fri­day to en­dorse the up to 86 bil­lion euro three-year loan pro­gram for Athens.

Greece would be ex­pected to en­act another pack­age of re­form leg­is­la­tion be­fore Aug. 20, in par­al­lel with na­tional rat­i­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures to re­ceive a first aid pay­ment in time to meet the ECB pay­ment.

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