Arab Today, arab today greece to welcome german chancellor merkel as bailout talks progress
Last Updated : GMT 10:41:31
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Greece to welcome German Chancellor Merkel as bailout talks progress

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Greece to welcome German Chancellor Merkel as bailout talks progress

Athens - XINHUA

Greece will welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel as \"the leader of a great and friendly country\", Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Friday. It will be the first time in five years that a German chancellor visits Greece, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou noted, especially since 2009 when the acute debt crisis started threatening to destabilize the entire euro zone. Merkel\'s next week visit also comes at a time when Greece\'s bailout talks with international creditors in Athens over further funding to the debt-laden country is in progress. The Greek prime minister had invited Merkel to Athens during his visit to Berlin in August. \"The Chancellor\'s acceptance of my invitation to visit Athens is a very positive development,\" Samaras told the press in Athens. Talking about Merkel \'s visit on Tuesday, Kedikoglou said \"this visit will be a further step for significant future European decisions,\" as analysts in Athens commented that it could be considered as a message of support to Greece in a crucial period. Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras at the same time was wrapping up one more marathon meeting with auditors of European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders who keep Greece afloat with vital multi-billion euro loans under bailout deals signed since 2010. The two sides have made some progress to finalize the fresh 13.5- billion-euro (17.64-billion-U.S. dollar) austerity and reform plan for 2013-2014 demanded by creditors before they release the next installment of loans, Greek media reported, citing government sources. According to the reports, Athens could eventually agree to increase the spending cuts for 2013 from 8 billion euros as written down to the 2013 budget draft unveiled on Monday, to 9 billion euros to secure a positive assessment of Greece\'s progress in fulfilling the terms for receiving further aid. But Greeks argue that further austerity could deteriorate the deep recession and fuel social tension. Athens hopes that a final agreement on the package could be reached by Monday\'s euro zone meeting to pave the way for the Oct. 18 EU summit to unlock the next 31.5 billion euro tranche to Greece and examine the prospect of a two-year extension of the Greek fiscal adjustment plan to 2016 to ease recession. Samaras\' three-party coalition government which took office this summer is pushing for swift decisions in coming weeks as time is pressing and opposition Left parties and trade unions culminate anti-austerity protests, warning with major mobilization during Merkel\'s visit. The Greek prime minister told a German newspaper on Friday that without new funding in time, Greece could run out of cash at the end of November. A Greek chaotic default and possible exit from the euro zone could send shockwave across the euro zone area and international markets. (1 euro= 1.3 U.S. dollars)  

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