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Greece begins review of debt situation, possible relief

PARIS, Sept 2 (KUNA) -- European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary experts on Tuesday began a three-day review of Greek's economy, in particular a close scrutiny of the country's debt and the prospects of according relief to Athens after draconian austerity measures have been put in place and led to social upheaval and violence.
EU officials indicated that the "Troika" review process will also examine failures on the Greek side to rapidly implement some recommendations by international creditors, the EU and the IMF, and the ECB, especially on privatisation and streamlining of certain public sector activities, with massive job losses called for.
Greece believes it has already made considerable strides to clean up the economy and make the country more attractive to investors.
Indeed, Greece lately has confidently started selling bonds again and on Tuesday raised Euros 1.14 billion at moderate rates on international markets, a sign of returning confidence in Greek financial sovereignty. The yield on the short-term Treasury Bills for six months was 2.0 percent, down 0.02 points on previous operations.
But Greek debt continues to rise and is now estimated at well over USD 430 billion, up from USD 420 billion at the end of last year, according to EU estimates.
At stake in Paris over the next three days is whether the high-level Greek delegation led by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis - will be able to convince the "Troika" to cut interest rates and give fiscal breaks on the massive debt level and give relief to the economy in Greece, where there are encouraging signs of a resumption of growth after years of austerity and reform, and as new elections approach. (end) jk.ibi