US Treasury team to visit Athens

A team of US Treasury officials will visit Greece in the coming weeks, the Treasury said Tuesday, as Athens’s new anti-austerity government works to ease terms on its bailout program.

The team, whose mission was not detailed, will be led by Daleep Singh, the Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary for Europe and Eurasia.

Singh is formerly an investment banker with Goldman Sachs where he was a specialist in emerging-market debt.

Washington has been supportive in Greeces push for its “troika” lenders — the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank — to soften the reform requirements attached to their huge loans to the country, and allow it to negotiate easier payment terms with commercial lenders as well.

President Barack Obama said Sunday that the Greek economy was in “dire need” of reform but warned that drastic changes were tough to implement in a struggling economy.

“You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression,” he told CNN.

“At some point, there has to be a growth strategy in order for them to pay off their debts.” [AFP]