Mar. 10 - Private creditors agree to tender Greek debt, paving the way for a second multi-billion euro bailout. Jessica Gray reports.
Greek politicians are in good spirits after inking a debt swap deal with private creditors on Friday. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said the country had avoided "quicksand". (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, LUCAS PAPADEMOS "We carried out a very difficult project. With the completion of the remaining steps, with the final approval and the signing of the loan agreement next week we avoid the quicksand of the last months, we now stand on firm ground. For the first time Greece is not adding but removing state debt from the backs of its citizens and the next generation." Ministers can now move forward with their tasks to further bolster the struggling economy. (SOUNDBITE)(English) GREEK DEVELOPMENT MINISTER, ANNA DIAMANTOPOULOU "It is a big success, we are really very satisfied. Now it is a new day, it is another day and our first priority is development. So, as the Minister of Development, my first priority now is liquidity in the market and change in the environment, in the business environment, as soon as possible." Creditors agreed to tender more than 85% of Greece's 177 billion euros in bonds. The deal clears the way for a second bailout plan to help the country service the rest of its crushing debt. Residents in an Athens' barbershop joked about the "haircut" the country's private debt had received. But Greece is not out of the woods yet. The country suffers 20% unemployment and is facing growing opposition over a series of austerity measures that have slashed social spending and government jobs. Elections in April or May could also add fuel to fire if parties across the political spectrum fail to form an effective government. Jessica Gray, Reuters