IMF ‘confident’ blocked Greece loan will be released

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday said it was “confident” of a positive conclusion to talks with Greece on plans to trim its deficit that would allow the release of €8-billion in blocked bailout funds.

“We are confident negotiations will come to a positive conclusion,” said the IMF’s Europe director, Antonio Borges.

Greece needs the approval of a trio of international inspectors — from the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Union — before the release of the €8-billion, the latest tranche in a €110-billion rescue agreed for Greece in May last year.

Its release was blocked last month by the troika of auditors, who are currently in Athens going over the country’s books.

Borges said more work was needed to finesse Greek plans but that time was on Athens’ side as it did not need to make bond repayments until December.

“The key message is there is no rush,” Borges said in Brussels. “That gives us plenty of time for a careful negotiation of measures to be put in place.”

He also warned that a second rescue deal agreed in July in Brussels depended on the successful implementation of the first bailout.

“We hope we can move forward with the further disbursement of monies,” Borges said as he underlined that a “very important part” of the July 21 deal was that the first Greek bailout “has to be on track.”

He said “the Greeks now have their future in their own hands” but added there “should be” a new programme.

A reappraised programme “will have to focus more and more on debt sustainability” and “relaunching economic growth,” he said. — AFP

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