Tsipras calls for debt relief by year end, warns delay could benefit far-right


In a speech opening a Euro-Mediterranean summit in Vravrona, eastern Attica, on Monday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called again for debt relief by the end of the year, saying Greece's lenders should keep their promises to lighten the burden.

"Now is the time for our creditors to honor their commitments, as Greece has done, so that we can achieve a lightening of the debt by the end of the year," he said.

The premier stressed again that the problem is not purely Greek but European. "Ahead of an election year, as 2017 is for critical European countries, no one would want to transform the discussion about Greek debt into a pre-election weapon of the European far-right," Tsipras said.

"That will happen if dealing with that pending aspect of the agreement is put off until the second half of 2017," he added.

He said that Greek authorities were honoring the third bailout to the letter, noting that the two previous bailouts had failed "and we must not allow the third to fail too."

Tsipras also underlined the importance of maintaining Europe's cohesion in the face of a double crisis, one financial and the other involving refugees.