NEWS

Papandreou calls IMF chief to convey complaints

Prime Minister George Papandreou has called the managing director of the International Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to convey Greece?s dissatisfaction with comments made by officials from the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank ? collectively known as the troika ? on Friday.

Earlier, the Greek government had issued a statement condemning the comments about the Greek economy as ?unacceptable? and an attempt to meddle in Greece?s domestic affairs.

According to the prime minister?s office, Papandreou called Strauss-Kahn to explain why Athens was so unhappy with the troika?s comments.

In approving the fourth tranche of Greece?s emergency loan package, worth 15 billion euros, the troika warned that Athens would have to speed up its reforms and to sell 50 billion euros worth of state assets, including public property.

It appears that this last suggestion in particular has angered the Greek government.

?The behavior of the representatives of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank during Friday?s news conference was unacceptable,? said government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis in a statement. ?We asked for their help and in return we have kept to the letter in all the pledges we made.

?However, we did not ask anyone to intervene in our country?s domestic affairs. Everyone has to be aware of their role and this is something that we will make clear to our partners.?

Greece turned to the troika last May for 110 bullion euros in emergency loans to avoid bankruptcy. But in order to qualify for the loans, the government had to agree to a raft of structural reforms.

?We are in need but we also have limits,? said Petalotis. ?We are not willing to negotiate the limits of our self-respect with anyone. We only accept orders from the Greek people.

According to Papandreou?s office, Strauss-Kahn expressed his understanding and respect for the Greek government and its people.

The prime minister was also due to speak with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet.

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