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Greek Premier Says 'Survival Of Nation' At Stake In Debt Talks

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (file photo)
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has told lawmakers that the "survival of the nation" is at stake in debt negotiations with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Greek is negotiating the terms of a 45 billion-euro ($60 billion) EU-IMF financial bailout that Athens says is needed by May 19 to avoid defaulting on maturing debts.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says he is confident negotiations will be completed in coming days.

Barroso said the commission, which is negotiating the agreement with Greece on the EU's behalf, "is making solid and rapid progress" with the European Central Bank, the IMF, and the Greek government "to finalize the Greek adjustment program that will reverse the debt spiral of Greece and restore its overall economic competitiveness."

Finance ministers of the 16 nations are due to hold a special meeting on May 2 to review the proposed bailout for Greece.

On April 29, Greek police battled protesters in downtown Athens objecting to austerity plans.

The bailout is deeply unpopular in Greece, because of the harsh conditions protesters say it will impose on ordinary people.

The country is bracing for a wave of strikes and work stoppages in the coming days, including a general strike on May 5.

compiled from agency reports