Greece wants IMF explanation over Wikileaks report

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A family buys seafood at the fish market in Athens Monday, March 14, 2016. Greeks traditionally celebrate Clean Monday, the beginning of Lent in the Eastern Orthodox Church calendar, by eating seafood to signify a break with meat-eating and the start of a 40-day fast until Easter. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Athens—Greece on Sunday demanded “explanations” from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after Wikileaks said the lender sought a crisis “event” to push the indebted nation into concluding talks over its reforms.
IMF officials, in an internal discussion, allegedly voiced exasperation with Greece on its slow pace of reform, complaining Athens only moved decisively when faced with the peril of default, the website said. An “event” was thus needed to drive the threat of default and get the Greeks to act, one official purportedly says. The “event” is not described in the transcript placed on the Wikileaks website on Saturday. The official, assessing the state of the talks and the political calendar, predicts the European Union will stop discussions “for a month” before Britain’s EU referendum on June 23.
The Greek government reacted strongly to the report, saying it wanted the IMF to clarify its position. “The Greek government is demanding explanations from the IMF over whether seeking to create default conditions in Greece, shortly ahead of the referendum in Britain, is the fund’s official position,” spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili said in a statement. The transcript purports to be that of a teleconference that took place on March 19. Those taking part were Iva Petrova and Delia Velculescu, who have been representing the IMF in the negotiations with Greece, and Poul Thomsen, director of the Fund’s European Department.—AFP

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