ECONOMY

IMF: Athens said default is not an option

Greece has ruled out the possibilities of default or debt restructuring, a top-level official of the International Monetary Fund said in Washington on Thursday.

Caroline Atkinson, director of the IMF?s External Relations Department, said in a regular press briefing that ?the Greek government has made it clear that default is not an option,? and reiterated Athens?s assurances that there will be no restructuring of its debt.

The IMF official stressed that the policy to handle the difficult financial juncture and the high debt that the Greek economy got into last spring was based on two axes: Reforms that would open up the economy and create the best possible environment for growth and new jobs, and the improvement of public finances.

Atkinson did not hesitate to express her optimism in public about the implementation of the memorandum signed by Greece and its creditors, saying that the IMF ?expects the program to succeed.? She did point out that there are different approaches to success, adding that even though the program is tough, the Greek government is fully committed to it.

Contacts between IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and other European leaders, as well as the close cooperation between the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, have resulted in a successful program for Greece, Atkinson said. She also expressed confidence the European Union and the eurozone dealing with existing challenges in an effective way at the European summit scheduled to take place later this month.

Asked whether the troika?s revelation of the government?s plan to utilize state assets to collect 50 billion euros by 2015 has strained relations between the IMF and Athens, Atkinson said that the Fund maintains a close and strong relationship with the Greek government and respects its policies.