RACHEL DONADIO and NIKI KITSANTONIS
After days of maneuvering,Greek political leaders reached a tentative deal on Thursday on a package of tough austerity measures demanded by Greeces financial backers in return for the countrys latest bailout.
The deal was intended to unlock euro 130 billion,or $173 billion,in new loans and save Greece from a potentially disastrous default. But there was no immediate flurry of checkbooks opening,as the countrys lenders sought to determine that all conditions had been met.
Heading into a meeting of euro zone leaders Thursday night in Brussels,the Greek finance minister,Evangelos Venizelos,described the deal as a new,strong and credible program. He said it had been reached at staff level with the so-called troika of lenders the European Commission,the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
We also have an agreement with private creditors on the basic parameters of a debt write-down,Venizelos said. Now we need the political endorsement of the euro group for the final step.
But ahead of the same meeting,the German finance minister,Wolfgang Schäuble,indicated that the endorsement would take some time. He said there were still general requirements outstanding,including approval by the Greek Parliament.
Nevertheless,officials were hoping to get enough of a conditional agreement so as to be able to start the process of the accompanying bond swap for Greece.