Athens in limbo over IMF chief

Strauss-Kahn had led talks about sec­ond bailout but gov­ern­ment plays down im­pli­ca­tions of ar­rest

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece in­sisted yes­ter­day that it would con­tinue to im­ple­ment the mea­sures it has agreed with the Euro­pean Union and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund de­spite the un­cer­tainty cre­ated by the ar­rest in New York of the IMF’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Do­minique Strauss-Kahn.

It is be­lieved that Strauss-Kahn had been at the fore­front of re­cent talks about Greece pos­si­bly re­ceiv­ing a sec­ond bailout from the EU and the IMF be­cause of the dif­fi­cul­ties it is hav­ing in meet­ing the de­mands of the ini­tial loan memo- ran­dum, signed a year ago. The French­man’s ar­rest on Satur­day ap­pears to put these ne­go­ti­a­tions in some jeop­ardy.

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Gior­gos Pe­talo­tis said Athens would con­tinue to fol­low the terms of the first bailout and to dis­cuss its po­si­tion with other IMF rep­re­sen­ta­tives. “The Greek gov­ern­ment deals with in­sti­tu­tions, not in­di­vid­u­als, and con­tin­ues unim­peded to im­ple­ment the pro­gram that will get it out of the cri­sis,” he said.

Strauss-Kahn’s deputy, John Lip­sky, was ap- pointed acting head while Strauss-Kahn re­mains in cus­tody in New York on sus­pi­cion of as­sault­ing a ho­tel cham­ber maid. An­other deputy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Ne­mat Shafik is ex­pected to at­tend the meet­ings that Strauss-Kahn had been due to take part in this week, where the Greek econ­omy was to be a main topic of dis­cus­sion.

The IMF man­ag­ing di­rec­tor’s Sun­day meet­ing with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, where Greece would have been high on the agenda, was can­celed. How­ever, Shafik is due to par­tic­i­pate in dis­cus­sions with eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters in Brus­sels to­day, where con­cerns about Greece’s sit­u­a­tion are due to be aired.

The tur­moil at the IMF comes amid grow­ing spec­u­la­tion that Greece will miss out on the fifth tranche of its 110-bil­lion-euro loan, which is due in June, and will have to agree a new deal with the EU and the Wash­ing­ton-based fund that will lead to the gov­ern­ment hav­ing to sign up to even tougher terms, such as sub­stan­tial sack­ings in the pub­lic sec­tor.

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