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Greece optimistic new debt deal to be sealed Monday

(Xinhua)

08:18, February 17, 2012

ATHENS, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Greek government on Thursday expressed optimism that a new debt deal to avoid a chaotic default in March could be sealed at a Eurogroup meeting on Monday.

"We expect to get on Monday the 'green light' so that the Private Sector Involvement (PSI) plan will start," said Greek government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis on Thursday evening, as mounting political pressure by international creditors fuelled new strong reactions by coalition lawmakers and opposition parties.

He stressed that all preconditions for the release of the fresh EU/International Monetary Fund (IMF) 130-billion-euro (170.4 billion U.S. dollars) bailout pact have been met. The pact will clear the way for a parallel bond swap deal with private creditors to ease the country's debt load.

"With good faith, the final decision and announcement will be made on Monday," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said after a Eurogroup teleconference on the issue on Wednesday night.

Greece's European counterparts seem to have been satisfied with the Greek plan to fill in the last million euros in a 3.2-billion-euro worth extra budget savings program for this year.

It appears they were also content with the written statements of the leaders of the two parties backing the interim government that the austerity and reform drive will be fully implemented in exchange of further aid.

The two requests of lenders in combination with the key demand that the Greek parliament should approve the fresh austerity along with the debt deal before the release of new rescue loans were met with annoyance by some officials and MPs in Athens.

But eurozone partners' new requests that the surveillance of the program's implementation should be strengthened and that similar commitments should be made by all parties in the Greek assembly have sparked new reactions.

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