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Greece 'does not blackmail and will not be blackmailed': Tsipras

13 february 2015, 12:17

 Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras warned Thursday that his government would not be pressured into breaking promises made to voters in its efforts to resolve a bitter row with the EU over renegotiating the country's bailout, AFP reports.

"Greece does not blackmail and will not be blackmailed," Tsipras said after a European Union summit in Brussels, his first since his radical leftist Syriza party swept to power after elections last month.

But he said that during the summit, Greece agreed to begin technical talks with its eurozone partners ahead of a make-or-break finance ministers' meeting on Monday, part of its bid to find common ground on its plans to ditch the country's 240-billion-euro ($270-billion) debt bailout.

"The technical teams get to work tomorrow. Their work will facilitate discussions at the Eurogroup on Monday," he said.

Tsipras insisted that any move forward would involve ditching the existing bailout programme as well as the hated "troika" of creditors -- the EU, IMF and European Central Bank -- which oversees the bailout.

"Forget the programme, it no longer exists. The troika doesn't exist either," he said.

The premier stressed that the economic pain inflicted on Greece by the EU-IMF rescue programme was unprecedented.

"We can't compare Greece to other countries -- it is effectively a special case in terms of the harshness of the austerity, and the length and damage inflicted to the social fabric," he said.

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