EU says Greek deal ‘not there yet’

The European Union poured cold water Thursday on Greece’s claims that a deal on its bailout was near, insisting that more progress was needed in talks between Athens and its creditors.

“We’re not there yet. There are open issues which need to be resolved,” European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt told reporters in Brussels when asked about the talks.

She said talks between Greek officials and representatives of its EU-IMF creditors had resumed in Brussels on Wednesday night after a delay caused by a major air traffic control breakdown in Belgium.

“Talks will continue in the coming days and further progress is needed in the talks,” she added.

Her comments appeared to contradict those made by Greek officials on Wednesday that they were near a deal that would unlock the final 7.2 billion euros ($7.8 billion) of bailout loan money to save Greece from default.

Four months into a stand-off between Greece’s radical Syriza government and its creditors, time is running out for Athens which may not have enough to repay loan payments to the International Monetary Fund due on June 5.

“We are in the final stretch, we are close to an agreement,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Wednesday after a briefing at the finance ministry.

A Greek government source had earlier said technical experts representing Athens and its creditors were to start drafting the long-awaited agreement in Brussels on Wednesday.


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