French finance minister says 'optimistic' about Greek deal after Athens talks

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) meets with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire at his office in Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ATHENS (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire expressed optimism about Greece reaching a deal on new loans from its European creditors after talks with his Greek counterpart and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens.

“I wanted to underline that we are doing our best with the other member states of the euro zone, with the IMF, with the Greek governement, and I’m optimistic, I think we are not far from the agreement,” he told reporters.

“And because we are not far we should really do our best in the next two days, to pave the way for that agreement,” he said, praising the Greek government for the reforms carried out in the last months.

Greece’s parliament approved on Friday reforms demanded by the country’s international lenders to conclude a long-stalled review of its bailout progress and qualify for more loans needed to repay debt maturing in July.

Euro zone finance ministers meet in Luxembourg on June 15 to discuss Greece’s reform progress and measures to reduce its debt, which stands at about 180 percent of GDP after seven years of crisis.

Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Leigh Thomas