IMF sees debt talks extending to September

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it expected discussions with Greek authorities over the country’s bailout-supported program to continue into September, longer than expected.

An IMF mission is in the field in Greece and is having the first opportunity for «substantive» discussions with the new government, and those talks were expected to continue «into September,» IMF spokesman David Hawley said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

The spokesman’s comments suggested a longer timeframe for talks than anticipated. A report on the findings of Greece’s creditors in the multibillion rescue program was expected to be published at the end of August or early September.

Auditors from the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank — the so-called troika of Greek creditors — returned to Athens on Tuesday to assess the debt-riddled country’s progress in implementing reforms under a 130-billion-euro ($160 billion) aid package.

The troika’s findings will determine whether Greece will receive fresh loans of 31.5 billion euros by September under its debt rescue program.

The money is needed to pay state salaries and pensions, and to recapitalize banks hit by a sovereign debt rollover earlier this year.

Greece’s progress in implementing reforms was sidetracked after a two-month political deadlock following two elections.

Most agree that Greece will not be able to reach the goals included in the second bailout package that it signed with its creditors in February, fueling speculation that Greece will leave the eurozone. [AFP]

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