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ATHENS, Greece – Greece intends to start discussions with its creditors on debt rescheduling in order to make the country's massive debt sustainable, at the same time as working on reform measures that need to be cemented by April, the finance minister said Saturday.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Yanis Varoufakis also said Athens will prioritize debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund, some of which come due in March, but that repayments to the European Central Bank are "in a different league" and will need discussion with Greece's creditors.
Greece faces IMF repayments in March of about 1.5 billion euros ($1.69 billion), and about 6.7 billion euros ($7.5 billion) to the ECB in the summer. But it is facing a cash crunch and will struggling with scheduled repayment of its debts.
"The IMF repayments of course we are going to prioritize," Varoufakis said. "We are not going to be the first country not to meet our obligations to the IMF.
"We shall squeeze blood out of stone if we need to do this on our own, and we shall do it. The ECB repayments are in a different league and we shall have to determine this in association with our partners and the institutions."
Last week, Greece won a four-month extension to its 240 billion-euro ($270 billion) international loan agreement earlier this month in a deal with the other members of the 19-nation eurozone. In return, Athens has pledged a series of budget reforms, which have to be turned into concrete measures by April.
Those measures, Varoufakis said, were Greece's priority.
"The April agreement concerns reforms. And this is our imperative. Our imperative is to reform this country," the minister said.
"At the same time, and independently of the April agreement, which is reform-based and centered, we intend to begin the conversation with our partners and institutions regarding debt sustainability and debt rescheduling."