Greece con­firms it will pay April bill: IMF

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Greece’s fi­nance min­is­ter on Sun­day told the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund chief that his coun­try will re­pay a sub­stan­tial loan from the or­ga­ni­za­tion that is due this week.

IMF Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Christine La­garde and Ya­nis Varo­ufakis met in Wash­ing­ton for an “in­for­mal dis­cus­sion” on the debt- stricken na­tion’s re­form pro­gram, an IMF state­ment said. The Greek gov­ern­ment has said Varo­ufakis will meet with U.S. Trea­sury of­fi­cials Mon­day.

Greece is in dif­fi­cult ne­go­ti­a­tions with cred­i­tors over its bailout pro­gram, which has de­layed the dis­burse­ment of the fi­nal 7.2 bil­lion euro ( US$7.9 bil­lion) aid tranche. That has led to a cash crunch, forc­ing the gov­ern­ment to tap re­serves.

Athens has been hop­ing for at least a par­tial re­lease of the fi­nal bailout in­stall­ment in or­der to avoid de­fault and to pay salaries and pen­sions.

“We both agreed that ef­fec­tive co­op­er­a­tion is in ev­ery­one’s in­ter- est,” La­garde said in the state­ment. “We noted that con­tin­u­ing un­cer­tainty is not in Greece’s in­ter­est.”

Greece must re­pay a 450 mil­lion euro IMF loan in­stall­ment on Thurs­day. Deputy Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dim­itris Mar­das on Satur­day told TV sta­tion Mega that Greece has the funds but it is up to the gov­ern­ment to de­cide whether to pay.

Greece and its cred­i­tors have been ne­go­ti­at­ing which re­forms it should en­act to its econ­omy to re­ceive more fund­ing.

La­garde said dis­cus­sions re­sume “promptly” on Mon­day be­tween tech­ni­cal teams and au­thor­i­ties in Athens and in Brussels.

Since 2010, Greece has been de­pen­dent on res­cue loans worth 240 bil­lion eu­ros from other eu­ro­zone coun­tries and the IMF. Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras was elected in Jan­uary on prom­ises to abol­ish the deeply re­sented bailout con­di­tions, which in­cluded deep spend­ing cuts and tax hikes.

How­ever, the new Syriza gov­ern­ment has since soft­ened many pre-elec­tion prom­ises.

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