Lagarde, Tsakalotos discuss debt relief, reforms

Lagarde, Tsakalotos discuss debt relief, reforms

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos discussed debt relief for Greece and speeding up reforms in a meeting on the sidelines of the fund’s spring meeting in Washington on Saturday.

“I had a productive meeting today with Greece’s Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and his team,” Lagarde said in an official statement after the meeting. 

“We discussed the importance of bringing discussions on debt to an early conclusion and accelerating implementation of program policies, both of which are critical for boosting economic prospects and making IMF financing available.”

On Greece’s side, finance ministry officials expressed optimism that a comprehensive deal will be achieved by June 21, when the eurozone's finance ministers will meet, according to state-run ANA-MPA news agency.

Ministry sources confirmed there are still “open issues” that concern the remaining prior actions of the country’s fourth program review, and the disagreement between the eurozone and the IMF on debt relief.

They said there are those who argue that is it feasible to make an “important step” towards a comprehensive solution at the Eurogroup in Sofia and others who say it is still very early.

The same sources said there is a shared will to reach an agreement in June’s Eurogroup.

Concerning the review, the sources said implementation of the prior actions is “on track” adding that even on those where there are some “technical difficulties," efforts are being made to “unblock” them.

These issues are expected to be the focus of the next visit of the institutions’ mission chiefs to Athens in mid-May, aiming to reach a staff level agreement.

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