–Talks Will Take ‘Some Days;’ No Special Treatment
–Don’t See Sovereign Debt Problems in Europe Anywhere Besides Greece

By Heather Scott

WASHINGTON (MNI) – The International Monetary Fund’s talks with
Greece on a possible aid package have just begun so it is too early to
discuss what it might include, IMF Managing Director Dominique
Strauss-Kahn said Thursday.

Noting there had been some delays in starting the talks because of
the Icelandic volcano, Strauss-Kahn said “it’s going to take some days
and it’s difficult for me to give any kind of opinion before the
negotiation mission comes back and reports.”

Speaking to reporters ahead of the IMF and World Bank Spring
meetings, the IMF chief said the fund has no problem cooperating with
the European Union to help Greece but the negotiations are with the
government in Athens only, which will receive the same treatment as
other members, according to IMF rules. He said that “in no way can
Greece be treated as a different member.”

Strauss-Kahn warned that “There is no silver bullet to solve it in
an easy manner,” and said the Greek people have to understand it is in
their interest to support the steps to resolve the crisis.

“It’s clear that the Greek situation is a very serious one and
we’re very much concerned. It’s a serious one for the macroeconomic
situation of Greece, it’s also a very serious question for the Greek
people,” he said.

Despite some concerns about the quality of the Greek economic data,
he said with recent revisions “we believe we have a firm basis of solid
data on Greece, which of course is absolutely necessary to build a

He added that the IMF is not looking a possible debt restructuring,
nor does it see and “specific problem of sovereign debt” in any euro
zone nation other than Greece.

In Iceland, Strauss-Kahn said despite the delays the program is now
“on-track” and going well.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **

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