Syriza's governing central committee early today backed a proposal by Tsipras to hold an emergency party conference in September, after the talks have been concluded. Dissenters had sought a conference earlier, pressing the government to abandon ongoing negotiations with rescue lenders.

The decision followed a dramatic 12-hour meeting by the 200-member central committee, during which party rebels appealed for Greece to return to its national currency, the drachma.

It also came hours before the main round of negotiations were due to start in Athens with a scheduled visit to the Finance Ministry by negotiators from the European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Stability Mechanism.

Tsipras effectively lost his majority in Parliament in a vote three weeks ago, when nearly one-fourth of Syriza's lawmakers refused to back new austerity measures. Pro-European Union opposition parties were left to save the bill and have continued to prop up Tsipras' government.

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