Tsipras aims for deal with lenders by this summer

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras will aim to conclude an agreement with Greece’s international lenders by the summer if his party is able to form a government after Sunday’s elections.

In a televised news conference Friday, Tsipras sketched out his plans for government and revealed that he had no specific plans for meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel if he becomes prime minister.

The SYRIZA chief suggested that his government would enter negotiations with Greece’s eurozone partners after being elected and would aim to wrap up talks on the way forward in the relationship between the two sides by July or August, when Greece has a series of debt obligations to meet.

Tsipras said that he is aiming to achieve a “sustainable, mutually acceptable solution for Greece and for Europe.” However, he suggested that he would negotiate with representatives of European Union institutions, rather than troika officials.

“Austerity is not enshrined in European treaties,” said Tsipras, adding that his government would recognize Greece’s “institutional obligations” toward the EU but not the “political commitments”» made by the outgoing government.

When asked where he would make his first official trip to if elected prime minister, Tsipras said it would be Cyprus. He added that he would not seek direct talks with Merkel.

“I do not recognize Mrs Merkel as being any different from the other leaders,” he said. “She is one of 28 so I will not rush to meet her.”