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IMF says not in debt talks

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it was not in debt talks with the new anti-austerity Greek government, which wants to renegotiate its bailout from the IMF and European Union. "There is an agreed framework for dealing with debt in the current program. There has been no discussion with the authorities on a change in this framework," the IMF said in a brief statement.

The IMF's European department chief, Poul Thomsen, who is charge of the IMF program with Greece, had met with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis over the weekend "to get acquainted and to discuss the challenges facing Greece," Fund spokeswoman Angela Gaviria said in an email to AFP.

She did not provide further details. The radical left Syriza party won a resounding victory in the January 25 election after pledging to end the previous conservative administration's policies of austerity. The Syriza-led government is pushing to renegotiate the terms of its massive 240 billion euro ($270 billion) bailout from the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

Varoufakis, in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Wednesday, said the government was proposing that Greece's debt owed to the ECB be repaid in full on the July 20 deadline. But he said that the debt owed to national governments and the IMF could be swapped for growth-linked bonds. "We are proposing the other tranches, to the IMF and other countries, be substituted with new bonds at market interest, which is very low right now, with a clause: we will start the entire repayment once Greece's economy sees solid growth," he said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015


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