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Prime Minister vows Greece will pay its creditors

PARIS - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras insisted Thursday that his government will pay debts that are due soon even if Athens doesn't get part of a rescue loan that will only get released if current bailout talks are successful.

While in the French capital to drum up support for his government's reform plans, Tsipras said "it is certain that Greece will meet its obligations."

Still, he urged quick disbursement of part of a 7.2-billion-euro ($7.6 billion) rescue loan installment to prove to Greeks that international creditors are taking the new radical left government's concerns seriously.

Technical talks between Greece and its creditors began in Brussels on Wednesday to finalize a series of reforms Athens must implement in order to get the remaining funds from its bailout package released.

Without the money, Greece will have real difficulties paying off debts that are due, raising the risk of bankruptcy and a potential exit from the euro currency. Since 2010, Greece has depended on 240 billion euros worth of bailout cash to meet its debt obligations.

Greece's creditors in the 19-country eurozone agreed last month to extend the country's bailout until June. However, the release of the final tranche of cash will be sanctioned only if the Greek government's reform plans are approved.

Building confidence over the government's plans was the main reason why Tsipras was in Paris. While there, Tsipras signed an accord with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for cooperation on the reforms. The Greek government has listed a series of reforms it intends to push through over coming months, with many aimed at tackling tax avoidance and evasion.

Tsipras said the OECD will put "its stamp on the reforms," which will be "very significant to build mutual trust" with Greece's creditors.

Greece and the OECD pledged to work together on a range of issues including strengthening the tax system, tackling oligopolies and cartels through greater competition and product market reforms, reducing the administrative burden to business and improving the efficiency of the country's state administration.

"Our aim is to help kick-start growth and facilitate an inclusive and sustainable recovery of the Greek economy", OECD secretary general Angel Gurria said.

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