VALLETTA Greece's international lenders are likely to agree on Friday to send teams of experts back to Athens to finalize an agreement on reforms that would unlock new lending to Greece, a euro zone official close to the talks said.
Greece is on its third bailout from euro zone governments but to get money it has to pass regular reviews of reforms it agreed to in return for the financing.
The review now under way has been dragging on since the middle of last year. Euro zone finance ministers will discuss the latest progress at a meeting in Malta on Friday.
"There will be an agreement today on the missions returning to Athens, significant progress reached on the package," the euro zone official, with insight into the negotiations said.
The return of the missions of experts means that they will be able to finalize what is called a "staff level agreement" on Greek reforms in exchange for loans, which is necessary for the ministers to give a political go-ahead to the review and disbursements.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)