Parties in Greek talks focused on risk to financial system

All parties involved in the debt negotiations between Greece and its European partners are trying to minimize risks to financial stability, a spokesman for the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.

“Any risks to financial stability could be minimized and addressed, and everyone is working in very good faith on all sides to make sure that will be the case,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said about the negotiations.

Some outside observers have warned that Greece could run out of cash and be forced to exit the euro zone if it did not agree on a six-month extension of its loan agreement with the European Union’s currency bloc. The agreement expires on Feb. 28.

On Thursday, Greece’s new left-wing government offered major concessions as it formally requested the extension, but it immediately ran into strong objections from EU paymaster Germany.

The IMF’s own loan program with Greece only ends in March 2016.

While the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission, known as the troika, had previously worked together on Greece’s bailout, Rice said it was unclear what the arrangements would be in the future, and declined to comment on Greece’s proposals.

“What we’re looking for … is an agreed process that would help develop a credible, strong policy framework, which is essential to help stabilize the current situation and obtain or raise needed financing,” he said about the IMF’s Greek loan program. [Reuters]