ECONOMY

Lew says visit to Athens is aimed at catching up, not providing financial assistance

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has dismissed any suggestion that he would be offering any financial assistance to Greece when he visits Athens on Sunday and insisted his trip was just “a chance to check in.”

“It is primarily a European challenge but we have stayed in close contact with the Greek government throughout and I think it’s important we continue that conversation,” he told Bloomberg in an interview.

Lew said his visit to Greece was a chance for him to have talks with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras before the Greek premier visits US President Barack Obama on August 8.

“I’ve been following the Greek crisis closely for the last couple of years,” said the Treasury Secretary. “It’s clear Greece has moved in a very important direction, making reforms that they needed to make.

Lew will visit Athens after attending the Group of 20 gathering of finance ministers and central bankers in Moscow this weekend.

“They have difficult decisions ahead of them and I think it’s great that I’ll have a couple of hours to hear where they are and how they see their prospects,” added Lew.