(Adds quotes, background)
ATHENS, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Greece’s central bank chief urged Athens and its foreign lenders on Monday to complete the country’s bailout review by the end of February, saying further delays would rekindle uncertainty and undermine the economy’s expected recovery this year.
Talks between Greece and its international lenders have dragged on for months, bogged down by disagreements over labour and energy reforms, fiscal targets and the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in the country’s bailout.
“Bailout review talks are at a very critical phase. The economy’s positive momentum must be assured by the swift conclusion of the review,” Yannis Stournaras told parliament’s economic affairs committee.
“Conditions could be much worse later; it may be too late,” he said, urging both Greece and its lenders to make concessions and conclude the review by the end of the month.
Euro zone finance ministers are expected to discuss the issue in Brussels next week.
To break the impasse, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos met with the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, and top officials from the European Central Bank, the euro zone bailout fund, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund last week.
Greece’s economy has been expanding in recent months after years of recession. It is expected to grow 2.7 percent this year. Stournaras warned that prolonged uncertainty could hurt the capital adequacy of Greek banks. He also said that data suggested an upward trend in household deposits last year was reversed in the first weeks of this year.
“The useful time remaining is very little,” Stournaras said. “Further delays in the conclusion of the review, beyond the current month, would lead to a new cycle of uncertainty, make reaching a deal more difficult and undermine a projected economic recovery.” (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos, editing by Larry King)