17:19 GMT22 February 2020
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    Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde has sent an open letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, calling on him to work out a debt issue settlement program coordinated with the creditors as soon as possible.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The letter was posted online a day after WikiLeaks published a transcript of a phone call between IMF European Department chief Poul Thomsen and the IMF Mission Chief for Greece Delia Velculescu where they agreed that a threat of imminent financial catastrophe was needed to make Athens agree to tighter austerity.

    The same day, the Greek authorities demanded explanations from IMF whether it was planning to coerce Athens into new austerity measures, according to Greek government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili.

    "My view of the ongoing negotiations is that we are still a good distance away from having a coherent program that I can present to our Executive Board. I have on many occasions stressed that we can only support a program that is credible and based on realistic assumptions, and that delivers on its objective of setting Greece on a path of robust growth while gradually restoring debt sustainability," Lagarde said in a letter issued on Sunday.

    "In the interest of the Greek people, we need to bring these negotiations to a speedy conclusion."

    Greece's international creditors signed an agreement with Athens in August 2015, approving a third bailout package worth about 86 billion euro ($93 billion) in exchange for highly unpopular austerity reforms such as pension cuts and tax hikes.

    The Greek economy has been severely strained for several years due to the country’s multibillion-euro debt, accumulated after the 2008 world financial crisis.

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    Tags:
    International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, Greece
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