IMF insists on program targets

While the International Monetary Fund is examining all possibilities, its baseline scenario is for Greece to remain in the eurozone as this is also the expressed wish of Athens, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday ahead of an informal meeting of the Fund’s board in the presence of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi in Washington.

Rice confirmed that the meeting would focus on Greece, but stressed it would be informal and would not make any significant decisions. Another source said that the meeting was called by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde herself, in order to update the board’s members on the course of negotiations with Athens and the results of last Monday’s Eurogroup meeting. Lagarde was also about to discuss Greece with Draghi in their own meeting, Rice said, as the Fund is striving for a solution to the impasse.

“We are working intensely with all our partners to reach an agreement as early as possible,” said Rice, placing an emphasis on the IMF’s insistence on the targets of the agreed program. “We are examining all options,” but “we wish to attain the targets of the program agreed,” the spokesman said, rejecting accusations that the Fund is not flexible.

Regarding the possibility that the Europeans will not fulfill their pledge to lighten the Greek debt, Rice said that “as far as I know there is no change to this framework, it was actually confirmed at the recent Eurogroup meeting.”

The spokesman avoided, “for obvious reasons,” elaborating on the preparations the IMF is making to deal with a Greek exit from the eurozone, but noted that examining various scenarios is part of the Fund’s task.

He added that he had no news regarding the liquidity situation in Greece and stated that the possible participation of Athens in a development bank by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) “is an issue exclusively of Greece and the Greek authorities.”

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