Greece optimistic over hopes of bailout deal

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Greece has said it aims to clinch a deal with its creditors that will allow it to receive the desperately needed final instalment of its international bailout plan and keep it from defaulting on its debts.

“This optimism that the Greek government is expressing is not idle talk. It is based on very specific facts,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said. “We are going into these negotiations with the aim to have an agreement with our partners by Sunday.”

Mr Sakellaridis’s comments come a day after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed similar optimism that a deal was near, and Greek officials said the text of an agreement was being written up.

The optimism, which caused a market rally late on Wednesday, proved short-lived, however, after key creditor states like Germany warned a final agreement remained elusive.

Greece’s new government, elected in January, has been in talks for four months on what reforms it should make to get the final bailout instalment of 7.2 billion euros (£5.1bn) from fellow eurozone states and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The radical left Syriza party won the elections on promises to repeal deeply resented austerity measures that accompanied the country’s bailout, arguing they had simply increased hardship and poverty and left the economy in a depression.

But Greece’s creditors insist it must take measures to ensure its economy is reformed and does not slip back into the bad habits of the past with reckless borrowing and an overinflated an inefficient public sector.

Negotiations on what measures exactly Athens must take have dragged with little evidence of progress for months.

“We believe conditions are now ripe for an agreement to be reached. Many discussions have been made, the Greek government has submitted very specific proposals, it has submitted very realistic proposals,” Mr Sakellaridis said.

“A constructive discussion is being held.”