New Greek PM 'optimistic' about reaching deal with EU

VIENNA - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Monday he was "optimistic" about reaching a compromise with the European Union on renegotiating the debt-hit country's massive international bailout.

"There is a common desire to resolve this crisis. I am optimistic that we will reach a compromise with our European partners," he told a press conference with Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann in Vienna.

"Throughout its history the EU has had its ups and downs, and we have always found a solution. I don't see any reason why we would not be able to reach an accord," Greece's new leftist leader added without elaborating.

Tsipras' visit to Vienna comes two days before a meeting of eurozone finance ministers and a European summit focused on the Greek crisis on Thursday.

Faymann stressed that the EU and the 19 members of the single currency union Eurogroup must find a solution as "the eurozone must remain united in a difficult situation".

He also underlined the need for Greece to respect its obligations to its European partners.

Greece's new leftist government has said the country intends to honour its debts but Tsipras has insisted he would be "unshakeable" in carrying out an anti-austerity agenda and called for temporary EU funding to help stave off a default.

So far Greece's demands for more time to renegotiate the country's massive 240 billion euro ($275 billion) EU-IMF rescue deal have hit a wall, with European paymaster Germany vehemently opposed.

On Monday German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that "if they (the Greeks) want our help, there needs to be a programme" agreed with creditors, rather than the emergency assistance that Athens had called for.

"I still don't understand how they (Greece) want to do it," he added after arriving at a G20 meeting in Istanbul.