Tuesday, July 24, 2012

IMF stresses support for Greece ahead of audit

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund stressed Monday its support of Greece on the eve of an IMF and European audit of the debt-stricken country's progress under an international bailout program.

"The IMF is supporting Greece in overcoming its economic difficulties," the Washington-based fund said in a brief statement.

On Tuesday, "an IMF mission will start discussions with the country's authorities... on how to bring Greece's economic program, which is supported by IMF financial assistance, back on track," it added.

The global lender said it was responding to a number of news queries following a report by the German news magazine Der Spiegel on Greece.

Der Spiegel reported that Greece had fallen behind with its budget cuts and was asking for more time to meet the conditions of the 130-billion-euro ($157.5 billion) IMF-European Union aid package.

But, the magazine said, Greece would require an additional 50 billion euros, and neither Germany nor the IMF were prepared to make that available.

Auditors from the IMF, EU and the European Central Bank -- the so-called troika of Greek creditors -- return to Athens on Tuesday.

The troika's findings will determine whether Greece will receive fresh loans of 31.5 billion euros by September under its debt rescue program.

Without this money, the Greek government will be unable to redeem maturing debt and maintain salary and pension payments.

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