NEWS

Venizelos to visit Washington

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will on Monday travel to Washington for a two-day visit, it was reported on Wednesday.

Venizelos, who is also the Socialist government’s deputy prime minister, is expected to meet with White House and Congress officials, as well as chief executives of the International Monetary Fund.

The trip to the United States is due to take place a week after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her visit to Greece. During her two-day stay in Athens, Clinton praised Greece?s austerity measures — introduced as part of a bailout deal with Europe an the IMF — as ?vital first steps? in avoiding default.

Her statements have been interpreted as one more sign of strengthening ties between the two NATO allies. Tension in Washington’s Turkey ties coupled with Greece’s recent rapprochement with Israel are reinforcing the trend, analysts say.

Meanwhile, a fresh IMF report calls for urgent steps to tackle the eurozone’s mounting crisis.

“It would be very costly not just for the eurozone but for the global economy to delay tackling the sovereign crisis,» IMF official Luc Everaert said in his report that also encourages European governments to increase the size of the rescue fund.

In an emergency eurozone summit in Brussels on Thursday, European politicians will attempt to agree a second bail-out of Greece in a bid to calm financial markets and stop contagion spreading to other members of the bloc.

But in a sobering statement Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel doused hopes of a major deal saying there would not be anything as «spectacular» as a restructuring of Greek debt.

Venizelos is expected to attend the Brussels summit.