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Greek economy minister sees deal with EU/IMF on reforms next week

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Greece should reach a deal with its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund next week on a package of reforms, which will help to unlock remaining bailout funds, the country's economy minister said on Wednesday. "I think talks will lead to a deal next week. The agreement will close on (Greek Orthodox) Easter week," Economy Minister George Stathakis told Skai TV.

[ATHENS] Greece should reach a deal with its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund next week on a package of reforms, which will help to unlock remaining bailout funds, the country's economy minister said on Wednesday. "I think talks will lead to a deal next week. The agreement will close on (Greek Orthodox) Easter week," Economy Minister George Stathakis told Skai TV.

Last week Athens presented a list of reforms to its official creditors in a bid to show it is committed to living up to pledges of financial discipline and is worthy of aid as it scrambles to meet loan payments amid a cash crunch.

The list of proposed reforms Athens has presented to the Brussels Group includes revenues of 1.5 billion euros (S$2.21 billion) from privatisations this year, including the long-term lease of 14 regional airports and the sale of its largest port Piraeus.

Mr Stathakis said the government had no plans to sell a majority 67 per cent stake in Piraeus Port Authority but would seek a joint venture with investors in which it would retain a substantial stake. "The idea that prevailed is that we will not proceed with a privatisation of the 67 per cent stake, which would mean a full privatisation of Piraeus port. We are not discussing this," Mr Stathakis said. "We are trying to find some kind of joint venture."

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Last week, the country's deputy prime minister said during a visit to China that Athens would sell its majority stake in Piraeus Port, where China's port operator Cosco Group is already an investor and short-listed for the sale.

Asked about the tender to lease Greece's regional airports, in which German airport operator Fraport has been named a winner, Mr Stathakis said Athens would seek to tweak some terms of the concession but would not cancel the deal. "(The tender) is at a stage where there can be a discussion on changing, revising or improving some aspects of the deal without cancelling the tender."

REUTERS

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