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Greece and its worldwide lenders made clear progress on Friday towards bridging differences over its fiscal path in coming years, moving closer to a deal that would secure new loan disbursements and save the country from default.

European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) lenders want Greece to make 1.8 billion euros - or 1 percent of gross domestic product - worth of new cuts by 2018 and another 1.8 billion euros after that on measures focused on broadening the tax base and on pension reductions.

And for Greeks themselves, even if the deal is secured, accepting yet more cutbacks in return for aid will be hard to swallow.

But the Greek prime minister warned worldwide lenders not to heap new burdens on a country he said had been "pillaged", with a population that had made "many sacrifices in the name of Europe". "We expect as soon as possible that the International Monetary Fund revise its forecast.so that discussions can continue at the technical level", he said.

Greece should leave the euro zone and then be given debt relief, the head of Germany's pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) told a German radio station on Thursday.

"No country has managed bigger steps to improve competitiveness than Greece", he said.

Greece's third bailout package, worth EUR86 billion, was agreed in August 2015.

"They were only interested in crushing our government, making sure that there would be no such mutually advantageous agreement", says Varoufakis, who claims Greece was being used as a "morality tale" to scare voters in other European countries away from defying the troika.

Tsipras said the IMF was coming up with "new demands for Greece; absurd, imaginary unreal, it doesn't matter, as long as it is made to look like Greece is to blame. for the already agreed decision of the Fund to not finance the third Greek bailout".

Greece is at the centre of a debate between its European creditors and the International Monetary Fund.


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