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IMF says 'on same page' with Europeans on Greece

[WASHINGTON] The International Monetary Fund is "on the same page" with the Europeans on negotiations with Greece over a cash-for-reforms deal, a Fund spokesman said on Thursday.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice also said discussions on debt sustainability and financing for Greece will have to wait until Athens agrees and implements key reforms.

"We've been calling for a balanced approach, and for all sides to play their part," Mr Rice told reporters in Washington."First we need to see the reforms agreed and implemented. And on the other side, we need to have the requisite financing and debt sustainability addressed."

The IMF had insisted in the past that Greece will need some form of debt relief to make its finances sustainable. But on Thursday, the Fund appeared to be closer to position of euro zone officials, who say the creditors would not discuss any debt restructuring until after Greece implements the remainder of its bailout program.

Negotiations between the two sides appeared stalled on Thursday, as Greece's international lenders put a final cash-for-reform plan to euro zone finance ministers even as Greek ministers said they would stick to their own proposals.

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If no deal is reached, Greece has said it will have trouble making a June 30 repayment to the IMF of some 1.6 billion euros. Failure to pay could trigger capital controls to prevent a bank run and push the country closer to an exit from the eurozone.

"As a matter of longstanding policy, the Fund does not extend payment deadlines," Mr Rice said, when asked about flexibility around this date.

He also said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde would inform the board "promptly" of Greece's failure to pay, given the visibility of the issue.


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