Greece PM rules out default, cites wages and pensions as priority

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday said his government's top priority as it faces depleting cash coffers was to pay wages and pensions, though he subsequently added that defaulting on debt was not an option either.

Greece - which faces a payment of 700 million euros to the IMF on May 12 - will have a deal with its creditors by May 9 that allows the European Central Bank to ease tight liquidity conditions, Tsipras said.

"I'm not telling you the reserves are in a good shape. There is a liquidity issue we're dealing with," Tsipras told Star television. "But I want to say something which I said before the elections and I'm saying now: it is our obligation towards society, this is our priority - paying pensions and wages."

Asked what the government would do if it had problems paying the IMF on May 12, Tsipras repeated: "Our priority is to pay wages and pensions."