Greece sealed bailout deal with creditors


Greece and its international lenders reached an 85 billion-euro bailout agreement on Tuesday after talking through the night, officials said, saving the country from financial ruin and raising hopes it can make a major debt repayment next week.

After a 23-hour session that began Monday morning, exhausted Greek officials emerged in a central Athens hotel to announce the two sides had agreed on terms of the three-year agreement barring a couple of minor issues that were being ironed out.

"Finally, we have white smoke," a finance ministry official said. "An agreement has been reached."

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos confirmed only "two or three small issues" were pending. Greek shares rose, with the banking index surging 6 percent, while two-year bond yields fell more than 4 percentage points.

The deal reached by creditor institutions still needs political approval from euro zone member countries.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker would hold talks later on Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, commission spokeswoman Annika Breidhardt said in Brussels.

"The institutions and the Greek authorities achieved an agreement in principle on a technical basis. Now as a next step, a political assessment will be made."

An agreement would close a painful chapter of aid talks for Greece, which fought against austerity terms demanded by creditors for much of the year before relenting under the threat of being bounced out of the euro zone.

After a deal in principle last month on keeping Greece in the euro, the latest round of talks began in Athens three weeks ago to craft an agreement covering details of reform measures, the timeline for their implementation and the amount of aid needed.

A Greek Finance Ministry official said the pact would be worth up to 85 billion euros $94 billion) in fresh loans over three years. Greek banks would get 10 billion euros immediately and would be recapitalized by the end of the year. (Reuters).




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