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Greek gov't confident of deal with troika auditors for bailout by Monday


08:38, July 05, 2013

ATHENS, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The Greek government on Thursday said it will have struck a deal with troika auditors in Athens by Monday on the terms of the release of further bailout aid to the debt- laden country this summer.

"There has been progress on all issues. We are heading towards an agreement Monday," Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Thursday afternoon, exiting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' office after the latest marathon meeting with envoys of European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors.

"We will be ready on Monday," Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis added, speaking to media a few minutes later.

Samaras received on Thursday the inspectors who continued for a fourth day their review of Greece's fiscal adjustment and reform program.

Among the main remaining sticking points between the two sides, according to sources, were the progress on the mass dismissals in the public sector which have been agreed during previous negotiations in spring in order to shrink and overhaul civil services.

Greece is lagging behind on the timetables regarding the firings of 2,000 civil servants this summer and the placement of additional 12,500 employees in a mobility scheme under which they will be transferred to other posts or will be dismissed within a year.

On the other hand, Greek officials and auditors seem to have agreed on measures to close a one-billion-euro (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) gap in the healthcare sector this year, which was also a key thorny issue in talks this time.

Greece is under time pressure, since the next Euro group meeting which will decide on the disbursement of the next 8.1 billion euro tranche of bailout aid to Athens, is scheduled for next Monday.

Without a final deal by Monday, Greece faces the possibility of at least a two-month delay in the flow of rescue loans, which would force Athens to conduct extra auctions of two-month treasury bills and borrow on increased interest rates in order to cover its imminent financial needs, according to local analysts.

Since 2010 the debt-ridden country depends on multi-billion international loans to avoid default and pave the way back to growth through a painful austerity and reform program.

Expressing optimism over the outcome of the ongoing consultations with troika auditors, Greek officials have said that a draft bill which will include all "prior actions" requested by lenders for the release of further aid will be submitted to the Greek parliament on Monday.

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