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Greek finance minister raises hope of deal with bailout creditors in dragging reform talks

Greece's finance minister says he is "close to" completing marathon negotiations with the debt-mired country's bailout creditors.

But Yannis Stournaras says he doesn't know whether an agreement, following six months of on-and-off talks, will emerge in a meeting Monday, a day before the debt inspectors were due to end their visit to Greece.

Greece has survived on international bailouts since it nearly went bankrupt in mid-2010. Payments depend on its compliance with demanded spending cuts and tax increases and pushing on with wide-ranging reforms.

The latest talks with representatives from Greece's European partners, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund have dragged since September. The main sticking points include public sector layoffs and pressing ahead with policies to make it easier to sack people in the private sector.