Greece talks of compromise as Merkel warns time is short

Mon Jun 8, 2015 5:03pm EDT
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By Renee Maltezou and Noah Barkin

ATHENS/KRUEN, Germany (Reuters) - Greece proclaimed a new willingness to compromise with its international creditors on Monday, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that time was running out for a reform-for-aid deal to keep the country in the euro.

Three days after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told his parliament the latest proposal from the EU and IMF was "absurd", the Greek government said it was ready to negotiate a settlement acceptable to both sides by the end of this month - when Greece's bailout program expires and it faces the prospect of default on its debts.

For all the more positive mood music, a European Union official reported "no new developments" in the hunt for a deal under which the creditors would resume aid in return for promises of more austerity.

Athens and Brussels exchanged proposals last week in the hope of breaking an impasse that, if unresolved, could force Greece out of the euro zone, an event that could shake financial markets and even the global economy.

Merkel, who is due to meet Tsipras along with French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday, stressed she wanted Greece to remain part of the currency bloc.

But, speaking after a summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in Germany, she said there was "not much time left".

U.S. President Barack Obama said after the meeting in the Bavarian Alps that the Greeks need to make "some tough political choices" and both sides must show flexibility.

Hollande underlined that to reach the end of June deadline, a deal had to be nailed down soon. Tsipras has called for broad political negotiations, but Hollande made clear the EU was more interested in the details of what he will promise.   Continued...

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is seen at his office during a meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki (not pictured) in Athens June 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis