BBC News | Sunday, 25 April 2010 | 00:26 GMT
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, says the Greek people should not fear the IMF. He was responding to a Greek journalist who said Greeks are demonising the IMF and fear the country’s economic crisis will be worse with its involvement. He replied that the IMF was there to help Greece, but deflected questions about negotiations with its government. On Friday, Greece asked for an EU-IMF bailout of its debt-ridden economy. Mr Strauss-Kahn was speaking after the agency’s main ministerial steering committee met in Washington.
The agency has a reputation for requiring borrowing countries to make deep cuts in popular government spending programmes, says the BBC’s economic correspondent, Andrew Walker, from the IMF headquarters in Washington. But Mr Strauss-Kahn said the Greek people should think of the IMF as a "cooperative organisation" where the countries of the world work together to help those in trouble by providing resources and advice on behalf of the international community. "Greek citizens should not fear the IMF," he said. "We are there to try to help them." Earlier, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called on the IMF, the EU and the Greek government to act quickly to tackle Greece’s debt crisis. "Secretary Geithner encouraged them to move quickly to put in place a package of strong reforms and substantial concrete financial support," said a statement from his office after the talks with Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, Mr Strauss-Kahn and several EU officials.
BBC News | Friday, 16 April 2010 | 22:20 GMT
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has said his country is making "preparatory moves" to take advantage of a multi-billion euro rescue package. He added, however, that Greece would not necessarily make a formal request for help. On Sunday, the eurozone and International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed details of a loan package to help debt-ridden Greece. Concerns about Greece’s high levels of debt have put pressure on the euro. The currency fell by 1 cent against the dollar on Thursday, and slipped a further 0.54% on Friday to close at $1.3506.
On Tuesday, Greece successfully raised 1.56bn euros ($2.1bn; £1.4bn) in an over-subscribed issue of bonds, designed to raise money to repay some of its debt. However, the country’s finance ministry said on Thursday that it had written to the European Union, European Central Bank and IMF to discuss the rescue plan. The IMF’s managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, responded to the letter, saying he would send a team to Athens on Monday to begin negotiations.