ECONOMY

IIF?s Dallara due in Athens as PSI talks start to bear fruit [Update]

Talks between the Greek government and private creditors on a debt swap are proceeding satisfactorily, focusing on the coupon new bonds will carry, Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis said on Tuesday, as the government and its private creditors are said to be putting the finishing touches to the deal on the private sector involvement plan, or PSI+.

?A part of the talks relates to the coupon, the jurisdiction under which the bonds will be issued and a whole series of other parameters,? Sachinidis told Real FM radio on Tuesday. While no final agreement has been reached yet, ?there are developments,? and the negotiations ?are at a satisfactory point,? he said.

Olli Rehn, the European Union?s economic and monetary affairs commissioner, said on Tuesday that the negotiators were ?about to finalize shortly.?

Activity is generally stepping up though as a deal looks closer than ever. Late on Tuesday, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to discuss the progress in the Greek PSI plan, before heading to Paris for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

?The voluntary restructuring of Greece?s debt must be moved forward,? Merkel had told reporters in Berlin on Monday after talks with Sarkozy.

?In our view, the second Greek program, including the debt restructuring, has to be carried out quickly now because otherwise it won?t be possible to pay out the next tranche for Greece.?

The head of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), Charles Dallara, is due to arrive in Athens late Thursday or early on Friday, where he will meet with Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

?It is important to build on the progress so far to move the negotiations for a voluntary agreement forward as rapidly as possible,? the IIF said on Tuesday in a statement.