ATHENS, Greece, July 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the Greek government "has made significant progress'' in stabilizing the economy and said the country is clearly rebounding from last year's debt crisis, according to a press conference transcript released by the government of Greece.
"It is extremely significant that we stand here before you today with no fear that Greece may default,'' Mr. Lew said in Athens on Thursday.
Mr. Lew made his comments at a joint press availability with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. As he has in the past, Mr. Lew urged the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to restructure Greece's debt. Debt reduction negotiations are slated for the fall.
"Our opinion has always been known: Debt restructuring is necessary to provide Greece with a better future,'' Mr. Lew said. "Solutions leading to stability are several and should be pursued as immediately as possible.
"It is important that these solutions are affordable and for the long run to create a stable system that will allow Greece to meet its obligations,'' Mr. Lew said.
Mr. Lew made his comments following meetings Thursday with Mr. Tsakalotos and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The US Treasury Secretary stopped in Athens overnight on his way to a meeting of G-20 finance chiefs in Chengdu, China.
In his comments, Mr. Lew praised the government in Athens for recent efforts to cut the budget, reform pensions and crack down on financial corruption. He urged Greece to continue on the path of reform, saying, "There are signs that Greece has moved beyond the crisis and is growing."
"The right approach is a pragmatic one that gets to a bottom line that leaves a very clear path forward that is stable and affordable and sustainable," Mr. Lew said. "I certainly hope that the discussion over the coming months produces clarity in that regard."
Mr. Tsakalotos in his remarks said Mr. Lew heads to China as "a friend of Greece. And he will engage in important conversations that must take place in order to make the decisions on restructuring the Greek debt within the year."
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SOURCE Government of Greece