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ATHENS Feb 13 Greece's central bank chief urged
Athens and its foreign lenders on Monday to complete the
country's bailout review by the end of February, saying further
delays would rekindle uncertainty and undermine the economy's
expected recovery this year.
Talks between Greece and its international lenders have
dragged on for months, bogged down by disagreements over labour
and energy reforms, fiscal targets and the involvement of the
International Monetary Fund in the country's bailout.
"Bailout review talks are at a very critical phase. The
economy's positive momentum must be assured by the swift
conclusion of the review," Yannis Stournaras told parliament's
economic affairs committee.
"Conditions could be much worse later; it may be too late,"
he said, urging both Greece and its lenders to make concessions
and conclude the review by the end of the month.
Euro zone finance ministers are expected to discuss the
issue in Brussels next week.
To break the impasse, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos
met with the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen
Dijsselbloem, and top officials from the European Central Bank,
the euro zone bailout fund, the European Commission and the
International Monetary Fund last week.
Greece's economy has been expanding in recent months after
years of recession. It is expected to grow 2.7 percent this
Stournaras warned that prolonged uncertainty could hurt the
capital adequacy of Greek banks. He also said that data
suggested an upward trend in household deposits last year was
reversed in the first weeks of this year.
"The useful time remaining is very little," Stournaras said.
"Further delays in the conclusion of the review, beyond the
current month, would lead to a new cycle of uncertainty, make
reaching a deal more difficult and undermine a projected
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos, editing by Larry King)