NICOSIA (MNI) – All proposals regarding the Greek program,
including an extension in the time allowed for Athens to meet its
deficit cutting targets “are on the table,” Greek Finance Minister
Giannis Stournaras said Friday.

Speaking in Greek to reporters on the sidelines of the informal
Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings here, Stournaras said, “we are discussing
[all these options]. All proposals are on the table.”

Greece is seeking a two-year extension of its fiscal adjustment
program, from 2014 to 2016, in order to lighten the impact of the harsh
austerity medicine it is being required to swallow. It believes the
extension should be granted because of the unexpectedly steep recession
in which its economy is mired.

Commenting in English, Stournaras said Greece was a small part of
the discussion in the Eurogroup meeting today, though representatives of
the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International
Monetary Fund presented their preliminary report.

“The climate was rather positive if I may describe it,” the Greek
minister said. There is progress in negotiations with the Troika in
Athens, and the main message is that we will try and finish everything
by the end of October,” he said. His comments echo those of Eurogroup
President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said earlier today that there would
be no decisions on Greece until the second half of October, but that he
wanted to avoid dragging it on into November.

Stournaras said that the Greek government “will try and finalize
the negotiations as soon as possible” since the target is to nail down
decisions in the second half of October.

He said the final report of the Troika will be key.

Asked to elaborate on what he meant by “deciding on everything” –
whether it includes payment of a E31.5 billion tranche, the extension
for Greece’s fiscal program and additional financing from its Athens’ —
he just replied, “everything.”

–Athens Bureau,

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