Seeking compromise deal, Greece warns it might skip IMF payment

Wed Jun 3, 2015 3:21pm EDT
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By Foo Yun Chee and Karolina Tagaris

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's international creditors signaled on Wednesday they were ready to compromise to avert a default even as a defiant Athens warned it might skip an IMF loan repayment due this week.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed in a telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on the need for an immediate solution to the long-running debt negotiations involving a lower primary budget surplus target for Greece, a Greek official said.

Their third call in a week took place before Tsipras met European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels to hear the terms of a plan drawn up by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund after a meeting of leaders chaired by Merkel on Monday.

With time running out, and looking to draw a line under four months of acrimonious negotiations, the creditors have effectively come up with a take-it-or-leave-it offer.

However, Tsipras has produced a plan of his own and said he intended to discuss that document in Brussels, calling on euro zone partners to show some "realism" and urging a deal that would let Greece escape from "economic asphyxiation".

Neither man made any public comment as Juncker put his arm around the leftist Greek leader and led him into their meeting.

Hardline German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said an initial look at Greece's reform suggestions indicated that talks aimed at securing an aid-for-reforms deal will take time.

"I have no information that anything decisive has changed in terms of substance," he said at an event in Berlin.   Continued...

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras walks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (L) ahead of a meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 3, 2015.   REUTERS/Francois Lenoir