BUSINESS

Greece, lenders adjourn bailout review till after IMF spring meet

RENEE MALTEZOU

TAGS: Economy, EU

Greece and its international lenders adjourned talks on a crucial bailout review early on Tuesday and will resume them immediately after this week's IMF spring meeting, the Greek finance minister said.

Lenders, who had been in Athens for just over a week, will return next Monday after the IMF spring meeting in Washington with a view to concluding an agreement by April 22, when eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to meet, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters.

"The Greek government and the four institutions agreed there was progress," Tsakalotos said, referring to European institutions and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece's review of progress, under a bailout deal reached in July, has dragged on for months mainly because of differences among the lenders over its projected fiscal shortfall by 2018 – initially seen at 3 percent by the EU and 4.5 percent by the IMF – and resistance from Athens on unpopular measures.

The differences among the lenders themselves remained. With Athens, divergences hinged on the depth of pension reform and regulating non-performing loans, particularly those involving primary home mortgages, sources close to the talks have said.

"It would have been good to conclude on a deal today ... we have made many concessions until now," a Greek government official participating in the Athens-based talks said.

A source close to the talks said 'most issues' remained open.

A positive review will unlock up to 5 billion euros in aid. Athens needs the money to repay 3.5 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in July, as well as unpaid domestic bills.

[Reuters]

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