Greek leader promises no wage delays as state finances wilt

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has slipped back into deficit so far this year, according to figures from the Bank of Greece. But the country's left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ruled out any difficulties in making payments for public sector workers' salaries or state-backed pensions.

The central bank said the central government cash balance was 684 million euros ($723.12 million) in deficit for the first two months of the year, compared to a surplus of 139 million euros ($146.95 million) in January-February of 2014.

Tsipras' anti-bailout Syriza party won Jan. 25 elections on a pledge to renegotiate rescue loan agreements, seeking massive debt relief after a six-year recession.

In a newspaper interview Monday, Tsipras renewed government assurances that state salaries and pensions would not be affected by the tough ongoing negotiations with bailout creditors.