People walk in front of a closed store in Athens, Greece on May 23, 2017. Following the latest Euro Group meeting in Brussels on Monday which ended inconclusive, Greece's government retained optimism on Tuesday that a comprehensive, compromise deal can be reached by mid-June on the conclusion of the pending bailout review and the settlement of the Greek debt issue. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
By Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Following the latest Euro Group meeting in Brussels on Monday which ended inconclusive, Greece's government retained optimism on Tuesday that a comprehensive, compromise deal can be reached by mid-June on the conclusion of the pending bailout review and the settlement of the Greek debt issue.
"It was not possible to bridge the differences and come up with a concrete solution... We decided it was preferable to postpone the talks for a few more days to reach the best solution at the next Euro Group on June 15," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told a press briefing in Athens.
The Greek official explained that the main obstacle on Monday was once again the diverging views between mainly Germany and International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding the size of the Greek debt burden and its sustainability at the end of the current third bailout so that IMF gets fully on board.
The gap between the two sides has been reduced lately, but issues remain to be clarified, Tzanakopoulos said.
"There is no connection between the disbursement of the next loan installment and the outcome of the negotiations on Greek debt," he stressed when asked whether Greece may face difficulties to pay off 7 billion euros (7.86 billion U.S. dollars) in maturing old debt in July.
In his first comment after Monday's Euro Group meeting, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos also appeared certain that a comprehensive agreement on the release of the next loan tranche and the process to further debt relief can be reached within the next three weeks.
"I'm quite confident that if all sides are in a mood to compromise, it should not be beyond the wit of man to find that compromise within three weeks," Tsakalotos said, according to an e-mailed press release from his office.
The Greek minister stressed that the optimism was also shared by Greece's interlocutors who recognized that Athens has met its commitments and now is the turn of lenders to clarify the debt relief measures.
The government's optimism was not shared by most Greek media and people in the streets of Athens on Tuesday.
"New thriller over the solution on debt" was the main title on the first page of Imerissia (Daily) newspaper. "Fierce conflict between Schaeuble and IMF" was entitled the top story of Ethnos (Nation), while Dimokratia (Democracy) asked "What else do you want".
"We are tired of endless talks and negotiations. We want a clear final solution now," Spyridoula Karagiorghou, a 44-year-old unemployed accountant told Xinhua on Tuesday.
"We cannot keep walking into the unknown forever anxious about what they will decide for us in Brussels in six months or a year from today. We need clarity and stability in our lives to be able to dream and work for a better future again. Seven years of uncertainty and pain is enough," Karagiorghou said.