Greek PM Tsipras warns lenders not to ‘humiliate’ Greece

Alexis Tsipras accuses Greece's international creditors of backtracking on recently-agreed measures and of failing to see the need for an end to Greek austerity.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has warned international creditors not to impose humiliating terms on Greece, as the country urgently seeks further bailout funds.

Amid growing opposition within his own leftist Syriza party, Syriza told parliament that negotiations were at a "critical" stage but that the creditors’ proposals were "not realistic".

Tsipras accused the creditors of massively backtracking on measures agreed in recent months, and of failing to see the need for an end to Greek austerity.

He described the EU-IMF lenders' plan as a "bad moment for Europe" and a "bad negotiating trick" and said that his own proposals were the only “realistic” option.

"The strangulation of a country is a matter of moral order which conflicts with the founding principles of Europe,” Tsipras said, insisting that any deal should be "for a solution and not to... humiliate a whole people".

The lenders' proposals were put forward when Tsipras met the chief of the Eurozone's finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels earlier this week.

Earlier Greece delayed Friday's €300m debt repayment to the International Fund. All of Greece’s four scheduled repayments to the IMF in June will now be combined into a single of €1.5 billion payment by 30 June. Greece’s bailout deal with the EU and IMF will also run out by the end of the month.

Tsipras said on Thursday that an agreement with Greece's creditors was "in sight", particularly on the point of primary surpluses - the amount by which tax revenues exceed public spending.

However, he said there were "points that no-one would consider as a base for discussion"- including pension cuts and higher VAT rates for electricity.

Deputy Social Security Minister Dimitris Stratoulis, who is close to Syriza's far-left faction, also denounced the measures as “blackmail”.

"If the creditors do not back down from this package of blackmail, the government ...will have to seek alternative solutions, elections," he told Antenna TV.

However, outspoken Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said that he saw "no reason whatsoever" for Greece to go for snap elections, according to Reuters.

On Thursday night, Tsipras reportedly spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

A failure by the Greek government and its creditors to agree a deal could trigger a Greek default and a potential Greek exit from the Eurozone.

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