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Greece eyes imminent troika deal to unlock bailout aid

Greece hopes to conclude negotiations with the so-called troika of international creditors by Monday in a bid to unlock the next rescue loan, Evangelos Venizelos, the head of the country’s socialist party said Saturday, after an hours-long meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and another leader of Greece’s coalition government. A group of creditors from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank have been assessing the bailed-out country’s progress in implementing reforms. The auditors’ report is necessary to release a €2.8-billion ($3.7 billion) trance of aid out of Greece’s rescue package. Another loan payment of €6.0 billion, originally scheduled for the first quarter of 2013, will have to be postponed until at least mid-April. According to media reports, Samaras and his government’s two junior partners have decided to cut 4,000 jobs in the public sector by the end of 2013. On Thursday, local media reported that the troika was pressuring Greece to fire nearly 2,000 civil servants by June and put another 7,000 on a so-called mobility scheme by the end of the year.