Debt relief deal should help Greece access debt markets 'within next year': deputy PM

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[May 14, 2016]  ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece wants a debt relief deal which will help the country access debt markets in 2017 and allow for sustainable primary budget surpluses, the country's deputy prime minister said in a newspaper interview released on Saturday.

Greece and its lenders started talks on long-desired debt relief earlier this week as part of a bailout review which has dragged on for months because of a rift between the European Union and the International Monetary Fund over the country's fiscal progress

Their aim is to conclude the talks by May 24 and unlock fresh funds for Greece, which needs to pay off IMF loans and ECB bonds maturing in July, along with state arrears.

"The (Greek) government is seeking a solution which will fulfill specific criteria, among those is the criterion of economic viability," Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis told Naftemporiki newspaper. "The arrangement should facilitate Greece's exit to the debt markets within next year."

Greece has been cut off from debt markets since 2014 and signed off a third international bailout last year.

Dragasakis said that the debt relief deal should also include a "road map" which will spell out future moves.

He added that a conclusion of the reform review would lead to European Central Bank reinstating its waiver for Greek banks and including Greece into its quantitative easing program, which will mean fresh funds for the country.

"I estimate that a total of 9-12 billion euros could come into the real economy within 2016, which along with other factors will help economic recovery," Dragasakis said.

Greece's economic output shrank by 0.4 percent in the first quarter and the country hopes it could return to growth in the second half after years of recession.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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