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Opposition offers Tsipras help

Two opposition parties in Greece have offered the beleaguered government help over crucial bailout negotiations, as the country's finances continue to unsettle world markets.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras met leaders of the centrist Potami and socialist Pasok parties, which have a combined bloc of 30 seats in parliament.

Elected on an anti-austerity platform in January, Mr Tsipras is having trouble convincing dissenters in his coalition government to back a compromise deal with creditors that would likely see an extension of bailout taxes he had repeatedly promised to abolish.

He is due to brief parliamentarians in his Syriza party later.

Mr Tsipras has so far failed to reach an agreement with rescue creditors to release the remaining 7.2 billion euros (£5.3 billion) in its bailout program. The country faces default at the end of the month it will have to repay 1.6 billion euros (£1.15 billion) in debts.

Germany's Bild newspaper quoted Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis as saying he was not planning to present anything new at Thursday's meeting of the eurozone's 19 finance ministers - earlier billed as potentially decisive in the stand-off over Greece's stalled bailout.

The continued uncertainty caused a second day of heavy losses on the Athens Stock Exchange, whose main index was down about 4 percent. Germany's DAX was 1% lower, amid wider European losses.

Greek state borrowing costs, meanwhile, continue to rise, a sign investors are more worried about default.

The yield on the country's two-year-bond neared 30%, while yields for economically weaker eurozone states, such as Italy, Spain and Portugal, also crept higher.

Mr Tsipras blamed disagreement among creditors - which include the eurozone states and the International Monetary Fund - for the impasse.

"The difficulty is that we have many interlocutors," he said.

"The IMF has openly taken a position backing (bailout debt) restructuring, while the others insist on tough measures and have left out the restructuring issue."

At his meetings Tuesday, Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis renewed a pledge to vote for any deal reached by the government and creditors.

Fofi Gennimata, the newly-elected leader of Pasok, said she urged Mr Tsipras to form a cross-party team of bailout negotiators - a move that would help convince creditors that Greece is committed to long-term reforms.


From Belfast Telegraph