New Greek prime minister vows to renegotiate debt deal

Alexis Tsipras says his country does not want a bailout extension but a "bridge programme" until a new pact is sealed.

    Tsipras said his coalition has no intention of backing down on its campaign promises to renegotiate its massive 2010 bailout [EPA]
    Tsipras said his coalition has no intention of backing down on its campaign promises to renegotiate its massive 2010 bailout [EPA]

    New Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced that Greece does not want an extension of its bailout but a "bridge programme" which would buy the country time to negotiate a new deal.

    "Greece wants to service its debt. If our peers want so too, they are invited to come to the table of dialogue so we can discuss how to make it viable," Tsipras said on Sunday in a key policy speech to parliament.

    He also stressed "the government's unshakeable decision to honour all our pre-elect promises".

    The announcement comes ahead of a key meeting with eurozone finance ministers this week when Athens will push for a new debt deal with international creditors.

    As a symbol of the new government's shift away from austerity, the 40-year-old said he would re-open ERT public television, which was closed in 2013 by the previous government in a bid to save money. ERT would be re-opened to "repair a crime against Greek people and democracy," he said.

    Despite international pressure the ruling coalition, led by the radical left Syriza party, has no intention of backing down on its campaign promises to renegotiate its massive 2010 bailout, Tsipras reiterated in an interview with Real newspaper published on Sunday.

    There was "no point" in prolonging a rescue programme that had "led to a dead end", he said.

    Once the temporary plan - which will focus on aid for people worst hit by years of austerity imposed by the EU and IMF - was in place, "we will have the time to agree [with the EU] on a plan of reforms, without blackmail," he added.

    That three-year reform plan, focuses mainly on tax evasion and corruption and improving public governance, a government source said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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