Greece 'a step' away from twin debt deals - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Greece 'a step' away from twin debt deals

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece says it has all but concluded a crucial deal to write off half its privately-held debt.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told a new conference Tuesday that "We are one step -- I would say it is a formality-- away from finalizing" the debt relief agreement. It would see private creditors swap their Greek bonds for new ones of a lower value, longer repayment period on lower interest rate.

Venizelos says his Greece is now focusing on completing negotiations by the end of the week on a new program of cutbacks until 2015 -- without which Greece's bailout lifeline will be cut.

He hopes finance eurozone ministers can sign off on the new cuts -- and a new bailout -- during their meeting next Monday in Brussels.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-01-31-12 1052CST

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