Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis arrives on a motorbike at Maximos Mansion to attend a governmental meeting with Prime Minister Tsipras in Athens

Greece still ‘hopeful’ of positive statement from Eurogroup meeting

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s government remains hopeful that a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Monday will note progress in talks with lenders on a cash-for-reforms deal and pave the way for an easing of Greece’s cash crunch, a government official said on Sunday.

The Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers have ruled out clinching a deal to unlock aid for Greece at Monday’s meeting, saying that too many issues remain unresolved. Officials have said any statement they make is unlikely to be enough to allow the European Central Bank to raise the limit on short-term Treasury bills that Greek banks can buy, a move that would help avert a Greek national bankruptcy.

“We hope that the significant progress made will be recorded in the Eurogroup statement, which will be a positive sign regarding the prospect of reaching a final deal soon,” said a Greek government official, who declined to be named.

“What is important is to get a signal for the funding strangulation to end.”

Greece and its EU and IMF lenders remain at odds on budget, labor and pension issues but government ministers at a cabinet meeting on Sunday remained hopeful of such a statement, the official said.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist-led government, which came to power promising to end the austerity terms set for Greece’s existing 240 billion euro bailout program, has been locked in talks for months with its foreign lenders to try to secure fresh aid.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou, Writing by Deepa Babington)


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