ECONOMY

Lagarde confirms Greece will repay IMF on April 9 after Varoufakis meeting

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis confirmed to International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde on Sunday that Athens will meet the 450-million-euro debt repayment to the Fund on April 9.

The two officials held talks for about 2.5 hours in Washington and Lagarde issued a brief statement after the meeting confirming that Greece had no intention of missing Thursday’s repayment.

“Minister Varoufakis and I exchanged views on current developments and we both agreed that effective cooperation is in everyone’s interest,” she said. “We noted that continuing uncertainty is not in Greece’s interest and I welcomed confirmation by the Minister that payment owing to the Fund would be forthcoming on April 9.”

The Finance Ministry said on Saturday that Varoufakis travelled to Washington to brief Lagarde about the reform program being drawn up by the Greek coalition. However, in an interview on Greek TV on Sunday morning, State Minister Alekos Flambouraris suggested that Varoufakis would also urge Lagarde to help speed up negotiations between Greece and its lenders.

The IMF denied over the weekend reports that its technocrats had left Athens because of a lack of progress in deliberations with the Greek government. In her statement, Lagarde stressed the need for technical exchanges to become more fruitful.

“I expressed my appreciation for the Minister’s commitment to improve the technical teams’ ability to work with the authorities to conduct the necessary due diligence in Athens, and to enhance the policy discussions with the teams in Brussels, both of which will resume promptly on Monday,” she said.

“I reiterated that the Fund remains committed to work together with the authorities to help Greece return to a sustainable path of growth and employment.”

Varoufakis is expected to meet with US Treasury officials on Monday before returning to Athens.