Greek bailout talks pushed back by a few days on logistics-official

Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:31pm EDT
 
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By Angeliki Koutantou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Talks between Greece and its international creditors over a new bailout package will be delayed by a couple of days because of organizational issues, a finance ministry official said on Saturday.

The meetings with officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund were supposed to start on Monday after being delayed for issues including the location of talks and security last week.

A finance ministry official, who declined to be named, said talks between the technical teams of the lenders will start on Tuesday, while the mission chiefs will arrive in Athens with a delay of a couple of days for technical reasons.

"The reasons for the delay are neither political, nor diplomatic ones," the official added.

Greeks have viewed inspections visits by the lenders in Athens as a violation of the country's sovereignty and six months of acrimonious negotiations with EU partners took place in Brussels at the government's request.

Another finance ministry official denied earlier on Saturday that the government was trying to keep the lenders' team away from government departments and had no problem with them visiting the General Accounting Office..

Asked if the government would now allow EU, IMF and ECB mission chiefs to visit Athens for talks on a new loan, State Minister Alekos Flabouraris said: "If the agreement says that they should visit a ministry, we have to accept that."

The confusion around the expected start to the talks on Friday underlined the challenges ahead if negotiations are to be wrapped up in time for a bailout worth up to 86 billion euros to be approved in parliament by Aug. 20, as Greece intends.   Continued...

 
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras   in Athens, Greece July 24, 2015.   REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis