France supports Greek request to discuss easier debt terms

ATHENS: French President Francois Hollande says his government supports Greece's request to start negotiations with bailout lenders by the end of the year for better debt repayment terms.

Hollande, on the second day of a visit to Greece on Friday, said the talks should start after bailout inspectors complete a review of Greece's reforms progress, which is expected next month.

The French president and his ministers signed agreements to boost support by French experts for reforms to improve Greek state administration.

Greece's economy is expected to weaken after briefly emerging from a six-year downturn, pushing its projected national debt to above 190 percent of annual GDP in 2016.