Greece looks for debt help after backing further cuts

Greece appeals to creditors to approve debt relief measures

The Eurogroup also said it could consider replacing more costly International Monetary Fund loans to Greece with cheaper euro zone credit and transfer the profits made from a portfolio of Greek bonds bought by euro zone national central banks back to Athens.

The country is in the middle of its third global bailout, but its progress has been slow in light of various disagreements related to the reforms the Greek government has to impose in return for the rescue money. Its creditors in the eurozone also said they would offer the prospect of debt relief if the country meets its side of the bargain.

"Greece has assumed its responsibilities", he said, referring to measures on pension cuts, tax hikes and reforms adopted on Thursday by the Greek Parliament.

Germany's coalition government split along party lines on Monday over the question of debt relief for Greece ahead of a crunch meeting in Brussels to tackle the thorny issue.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he hoped for a political agreement on Monday that would allow euro zone governments to pay out the next tranche of loans to Greece.

Under the terms of the current Greek bailout program, the country has to enact a series of economic reforms in order to get the cash.

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The IMF believes that debt relief, or at least a clear promise of it now, is clearly needed and is important to restore investor confidence in Greece, especially if the country, which has public debt of nearly twice the size of its GDP, is to return to market financing.

"I expect and I'm working on a deal today, but it will not be the end deal".

"We have to find a scenario on debt that holds for years to come and that everyone can accept, including the International Monetary Fund", an European Union diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Greece is now in the midst of its third bailout programme - the current three-year deal expires in the summer of 2018 and could be worth up to €86bn in total.

Dijsselbloem made clear a formal decision on whether to grant Greece more debt relief would only be taken once the bailout ends in mid-2018, repeating a Eurogroup statement from May 2016, which also spelt out what relief could be considered. On Monday, Macron spoke to Tsipras and according to his office stressed "his determination to find an accord soon to lighten the burden of Greek debt over the long term".

The meeting will be the first for French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, named to his post last week by newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron, a pro-EU centrist. "That will be one of the hard issues", German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

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