IMF says could decide Greece aid in January

IMF says could decide Greece aid in January

The International Monetary Fund could decide in January whether it will put money in an aid program for Greece that until now has been financed entirely by the eurozone, an IMF spokesman said Thursday.

Greece obtained in July a three-year, 86 billion euro ($93.8 billion) rescue from its partners in the 19-nation eurozone. The bailout program is conditioned on Greek authorities meeting commitments on crucial reforms to put the debt-riddled economy back on track.

The first review mission of Greece's progress "is planned for January, at which point the IMF could come on board," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said at a regularly scheduled news conference at Fund headquarters in Washington.

"It’s only then, at that point, that we will begin to think about what the IMF participation would be in terms of financial contribution," Rice said.

The IMF teamed up with the European Union on the first two bailouts for Greece, but held back on a decision this time amid insufficient reform pledges from the Greek authorities and European reluctance on restructuring the country’s debt.

According to Rice, the IMF decision in January on joining the latest rescue effort "depends on the assessment at that time of where the reforms are, what the debt component would be."

In mid-November, the Greek government struck a deal with its IMF and EU creditors on a series of reforms it had pledged, unblocking 12 billion euros from the bailout loans. [AFP]

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