U.S. Treasury's Lew Encouraged by Progress in Greek Talks

Government And Institutions Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Sunday he was "encouraged by reports of some progress" in the discussions between Greece and its creditors, urging parties on both sides to show flexibility, according to a statement issued by a spokesman.

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"Rebuilding trust requires demonstrating that a program will be implemented and that there will be measures to make the debt sustainable," Lew said, according to the Treasury Department statement.

Lew's comments came after a phone call with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the statement said.

Euro zone leaders told near-bankrupt Greece at an emergency meeting on Sunday that it must enact key reforms this week to restore trust before they will open talks on any new financial rescue to keep it in the euro single currency.

The country will need to push legislation through parliament to convince his 18 partners in the currency bloc to release funds to avert bankruptcy and start talks on a bailout.

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The country will need to enact six sweeping measures including tax and pension reforms by Wednesday night, and the entire package must be endorsed by its parliament before talks can start.

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Below is the full text of Lew's statement, which was distributed by the Treasury Department.

"Secretary Lew spoke by telephone this morning with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the ongoing situation in Greece.

"Secretary Lew noted that he is closely monitoring the discussions in Brussels and has been encouraged by reports of some progress, though additional work clearly remains.

"He noted that Greece has made substantial movement and demonstrated the political will to implement difficult reforms and that continued flexibility will be required by all parties.

"Secretary Lew underscored that rebuilding trust requires demonstrating that a program will be implemented and that there will be measures to make the debt sustainable.

"Secretary Lew reinforced that it is in the best interests of Greece, Europe, and the global economy for all parties to reach a constructive outcome that would put Greece on a path toward necessary reforms as well as debt sustainability and growth within the Eurozone."

(Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Eric Walsh)