Sakellaridis hopeful of deal with lenders, dismisses talk of capital controls

Greece has the responsibility to pay its obligations but needs a deal with lenders as quickly as possible because of its cash crunch, the government spokesman said on Monday in response to questions about whether it can make a debt payment on June 5.

Asked about comments by officials including the interior minister that Greece does not have money to make that payment, Gabriel Sakellaridis reiterated the government’s official stance that the government would do its best but needed fresh aid soon.

“Based on the liquidity problems that we have, there is an imperative need for us and the euro zone to have a deal as soon as possible,» he told a news conference.

“To the degree to which we are able to pay our obligations, we will pay our obligations. It’s the government’s responsibility to be in a position to pay all of these obligations.”

He also voiced optimism of a deal in a short period of time, saying one could be found by early June.

Sakellaridis said there is a “convergence” between Greece and the institutions over fiscal targets this year and next.

Still, he acknowledged that agreement on value-added tax hikes, pension and labour reform as well as lower primary surplus targets had yet to be found in negotiations with EU and IMF lenders.

Sakellaridis also described as “unfounded” and “irresponsible” speculation about capital controls being imposed over the upcoming long weekend after New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyannis had expressed such fears.

[Reuters & Kathimerini]

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