Creditors expected in Greece by Sunday night

GMT 14:08 2015 Saturday ,25 July

Arab Today, arab today Creditors expected in Greece by Sunday night

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras
Athens - AFP

Representatives from Greece's international creditors are expected to arrive in Athens by Sunday night to start talks on a huge new international bailout for the crisis-hit country, a Greek government source said Saturday.

A European Commission spokesperson, however, could not confirm the plans, saying only that representatives of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- from whom Greece is seeking a bailout worth up to 86 billion euros ($94 billion) over three years -- would fly out to Athens "in the coming days".

The two sides are under enormous pressure to hammer out the rescue deal before August 20, when Athens is scheduled to make a loan repayment of 3.2 billion euros to the ECB that it cannot currently afford.

A Greek government source told AFP on the condition of anonymity that negotiators from the three institutions, collectively known as the troika, were set to arrive "by the end of Sunday night", with talks "probably" starting on Monday.

An official from the European Stability Mechanism, the eurozone's bailout fund, would also be heading to Athens, the source said.

Greece's radical-left government struck a deal on July 13 with the creditors to introduce tough economic reforms in exchange for the bailout, which it hopes will prevent it from defaulting on its enormous debts and crashing out of the eurozone.

But there appears to have been a delay in getting the ball rolling on talks to finalise the package. Negotiators from the creditors -- who have bailed Greece out twice already since 2010 -- have not set foot in Athens for more than a year as hostility has grown between the two sides.

Greece had initially said the creditors would fly to Athens on Friday, but sources close to the negotiations spoke of "logistical problems" holding up the arrival, including the question of where the troika would be based.

"The mission is being prepared. We are still discussing a location as we have to find an accessible place to work, near the ministries," a source close to the talks said on Friday.

The negotiating calender is even tighter than the August 20 payment deadline as the final deal must be approved by lawmakers in Greece and a number of eurozone countries, a process which could easily take up well over a week.

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