Roundup: Debt relief to help boost regional stability: Greek PM

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Debt relief will not only help Greece's ailing economy to exit the crisis but will also boost the country's important role as a pillar of stability in a fragile region, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed on Thursday, welcoming here U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

"Now, more than ever, we need solidarity from our partners and now is the appropriate time to send the right messages to investors, to the markets, with substantial and solid measures to significantly relieve debt, in order to support the economy and enhance Greece' role as a pillar of stability in a fragile surrounding region," Tsipras said during brief remarks in front of television cameras before talks.

On his part, the U.S. official said that it was important that a commitment in principle to restructure Greece' debt should "now become an actual policy," since it would create certainty that "we are going forward."

Ahead of the meeting with Tsipras as well during an earlier press briefing with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, Lew praised Greece for the progress made so far, urging the government to stay on the reform path in order to open the discussion on the debt relief, to further restore the country's credibility among international creditors and investors and boost growth.

"The Greek debt must be rendered sustainable," Lew said.

Further progress on reforms will mark a positive cycle for the economy and "the Europeans can start the discussion on the Greek debt soon," he said.

Lew did not elaborate on the formula of the debt relief, when asked, but stressed that a realistic and viable solution can be reached through constructive dialogue.

Lew repeated the call European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici made during his visit to Athens on Monday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be involved in the solution.

For his part, Tsakalotos referred to the May 24 Euro group statement which acknowledged that the Greek debt load was not sustainable.

"From now on we are discussing the technical details, how, what, when, and not whether debt relief is needed. This is the common stand of both sides and I believe this is very important," he said.

According to the Greek official on the agenda of talks at the Finance Ministry and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' office on Thursday were also the impact of the Brexit and developments in Turkey following last Friday's failed military coup attempt. Endite

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