IMF: Greece relief must be solid

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde listens to a question during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad (MALAYSIA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde listens to a question during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad (MALAYSIA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
Photo by REUTERS
| Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 8:00 p.m.

MANILA — An agreement among Greece's international creditors on reducing its large debt pile should be “rooted in reality and not in wishful thinking,” said the International Monetary Fund's chief before a tense meeting with European leaders.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde cut short a visit to Asia to attend a euro meeting on Tuesday in Belgium. She told Reuters that a deal is vital to providing a lasting solution to Greece's debt to avoid prolonged uncertainty and further damage to the nation's economy.

“I am always trying to be constructive, but I am driven by two objectives — (the first) to build and approve a program for Greece that is solid, that is convincing today, that will be sustainable tomorrow, that is rooted in reality and not in wishful thinking.

“The second objective is to maintain the integrity, credibility and quality of advice that we are giving, not for the fund itself, which obviously is a concern of mine, but to lend that to the Europeans because that is what they are interested in,” she said late Saturday.

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