Lenders focus on IMF inclusion as gov’t evades issue

Lenders focus on IMF inclusion as gov’t evades issue

Greece’s lenders stressed the need on Wednesday for the International Monetary Fund to be part of the Greek bailout as Athens sought to ease the tensions caused by the government’s skepticism about the Fund’s role.

“The participation of the IMF is not only a method that has brought results but it is also enshrined in the documents for the European Stability Mechanism program and within the European Union framework, such as the Eurogroup statement in August, which was supported by Greece and the IMF,” said German government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

His comments appeared to back up German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who argued on Tuesday that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is acting against Greece’s interests by questioning whether the Fund should participate in the third bailout program.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici also said on Wednesday that the IMF’s participation is “necessary.”

The Greek government reacted angrily to Schaeuble’s comments on Tuesday but chose not to follow up on the issue on Wednesday. Only government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili referred to the matter briefly and seemed to suggest that it should be set aside for the time being.

“In the summer we voted for a new agreement, which is not a continuation of the previous ones,” she told ERT radio. “It is a new agreement with new conditions and one in which the IMF has not yet decided if it will participate. It will decide in March, when its participation in the previous program comes to an end.”