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Delay in debt talks could doom Greek bailout: finance minister
[ATHENS] A delay in talks with international creditors on the evaluation of Greece's reforms and debt relief could ultimately doom the new bailout, the Greek finance minister warned Monday.
"If (the evaluation) is not concluded within a reasonable timeframe this programme cannot work," Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told a news conference.
Greece's leftist government in July signed a third debt rescue programme worth 86 billion euros (S$135 billion) after the country looked to be on the brink of crashing out of the eurozone.
Representatives of the creditors - the European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and the ESM European bailout fund - are expected in Athens later this month to monitor adherence to the programme.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, earlier this month told reporters that the process was likely to take "months (rather) than weeks."
Greece hopes that the end of this evaluation will kickstart a discussion on how to make repayment of its huge public debt more sustainable.
"We need several weeks to close the evaluation... It is in everybody's interest to find a solution and not have a Greek crisis," Mr Tsakalotos said.
But the International Monetary Fund has still not decided whether it will participate in the third financial bailout for Greece, and continues to set out tough conditions.
Athens must reach agreement with the creditors on a new overhaul of its ailing pension system - and the International Monetary Fund in particular is expected to criticise plans by the government to increase social contributions by employers.
"We are worried that the IMF may not share our concern about time," Mr Tsakalotos said.
"Every month of delay creates the impression that this country has not turned a page, which is unfair. We and the creditors are shooting ourselves in the leg," he said.