Thursday 27 July 2017

Greece moves to quell IMF default fears, pledges to meet 'all obligations'

Yanis Varoufakis is in the US for talks with the International Monetary Fund and the US Treasury
Yanis Varoufakis is in the US for talks with the International Monetary Fund and the US Treasury

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Sunday that Greece "intends to meet all obligations to all its creditors, ad infinitum," seeking to quell default fears ahead of a big loan payment Athens owes the IMF later this week.

Following a meeting with the head of the International Monetary Fund, Varoufakis told reporters the government plans to "reform Greece deeply" and would seek to improve the "efficacy of negotiations" with its creditors.

Greece has not received bailout funds since August last year and has resorted to measures such as borrowing from state entities to tide it over. It offered a new package of reforms last week in the hope of unlocking funds, but has yet to win agreement on the proposals with its EU and IMF lenders.

Most urgently, Athens is on the hook for a roughly 450 million euro ($494 million) loan repayment to the IMF due this Thursday.

The interior minister suggested last week the government would prioritize wages and pensions over the IMF payment, although the government later denied that was its stance.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement after meeting with Varoufakis that she welcomed his confirmation that the loan payment due would be made on schedule.

“I welcomed confirmation by the minister that payment owing to the Fund would be forthcoming on April 9th," Lagarde said.

She said due diligence efforts in Athens and talks with teams in Brussels over the terms of Greece's bailout would "resume promptly on Monday."

Reuters

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