NEWS

Troika wants written guarantees, says Greek envoy to IMF

Greece?s foreign lenders ? the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- are set to demand four separate letters from the country?s political leaders, confirming their acceptance of the terms of a new debt deal hammered hammered out last month in Brussels, the Greek representative to the IMF, Panayiotis Roumeliotis, has told Kathimerini.

According to Roumeliotis, who was one of several possible candidates mooted for interim prime minister last week, the foreign lenders, known collectively as the troika, want four letters of reassurance: one signed by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Greece?s central bank governor Giorgos Provopoulos,one by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and one each signed by the heads of the two main parties, Socialist PASOK leader George Papandreou and conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras.

Roumeliotis told Kathimerini that he believed Samaras ? who had previously indicated that he would not offer written reassurances ? would come round as the troika are seriously considering his expressed concerns about the need to stimulate growth in Greece.

Roumeliotis added that a troika delegation is due in Athens on Monday to start talks on the new debt deal which needs to be activated by early March at the latest.

The IMF representative added that if there is insufficient participation of the private sector in the bond haircut for Greece, its viability will be undermined.

Roumeliotis? comments came a day after Papademos spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other European leaders by telephone.

Both Sarkozy and Merkel underlined the need for Greece to implement the measures it had agreed to in return for the next tranche of an international rescue aid.

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