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Greece in ‘final stretch’ for deal with creditors: PM

Alexis_Tsipras_2013Greece is in the “final stretch” of talks for a deal with creditors on a new bailout, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Wednesday.

“We are in the final stretch to conclude an agreement with the institutions,” Tsipras said in televised remarks.

“Despite the difficulties, we hope this agreement can end uncertainty over the future of Greece and the eurozone,” he added.

Greece needs a deal that will unlock bailout funds by August 20, when it must repay some 3.4 billion euros ($3.7 billion) due to the European Central Bank.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday agreement on the bailout was possible by this date.

“All the reports I am getting suggest an accord this month, preferably before the 20th,” Juncker told AFP in an interview.

Tsipras is under pressure from a sizeable minority in his radical Syriza party who say the rescue package he agreed to last month is austerity-oriented and goes against the government’s campaign pledges.

In two successive reform votes last month, over 30 lawmakers from the ruling Syriza party refused to approve the measures.

With his popularity among Greeks still high, Tsipras has warned the dissidents of early elections in the autumn if they continue to resist the measures.

“Elections are likely in the autumn,” government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili told Vima radio. “It mainly depends on how steady this government can be in the coming period.”

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