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Greek PM hopeful that deal will be reached at Eurogroup meeting

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, Greece June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

BERLIN (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said he is optimistic that a deal paving the way for new loans for Greece will be reached at a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on June 15.

“We’re looking ahead to the meeting of euro zone finance ministers full of hope and expectation because we’ve implemented our commitments and we’ll continue to go down this route on the European path,” he wrote in Wednesday’s edition of the German newspaper Die Welt.

“We respect the rules of our joint European house and we expect the same of our lenders - namely to treat my country, Greece, with respect.”

Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund are likely to strike a compromise on Greece on Thursday, paving the way for new loans while leaving the contentious issue of debt relief for later, officials said on Monday.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chair of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, has said he expects a “deal on the full completion of the second review” at the upcoming Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg.

A conclusion of the second review of the 86 billion euro ($96 billion) bailout would include the unblocking of new loans for Greece, which are needed to pay debts due in July.

Tsipras said the answer to Greece’s unsustainable debt mountain was sustainable and “socially just” growth, adding: “So that this is possible, a debt restructuring is necessary so that the Greek economy can breathe and regain markets’ trust.”

He said medium-term measures to tackle Greece’s debt would not only be a reward for Greece’s reform efforts but also a sensible decision to promote growth in Greece to ensure it remains able to pay back its debts in future.

“It’s not about giving Greece money, but rather about not giving Greece money,” he said, adding that the next steps were about “an ambitious growth program ... based not on new debt, but on targeted initiatives to promote private investment in all of Greece”.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Kevin Liffey