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Talks between Athens and its eurozone and IMF creditors have been dragging for months and the effort to bridge the gap in bailout negotiations is focused on debt relief and budget targets for austerity-stricken Greece. The IMF says that progress has been made but there is significant backlog.
“There has been progress in the discussions but important issues remain outstanding. Discussions are continuing,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters Thursday, adding that the Fund hoped to send a mission to Athens soon.
“We need to see progress on the reform package on behalf of the Greek authorities and credible debt relief commitment in order for the IMF to go forward. That position has not changed,” Rice said.
According to the IMF — which participated in the last 2 bailouts — the Greek debt is unsustainable and must be restructured; if this is not in the agenda the fund will not be participating in the third bailout program. The IMF is against further austerity for Greece while supporting some reforms.
Rice said on Thursday, that IMF staff would not present a proposal to the Fund’s executive board that does not have “both legs” — “credible economic reforms and credible commitment to debt relief,” as reported by FRANCE24.
The IMF spokesman declined to speculate on the prospects of reaching an agreement.