Highlights: Comments on Greece from IMF meeting

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – Following are key quotes from Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou and other financial leaders meeting in Washington, as Greece seeks to release IMF and EU aid before a funding crunch in May.

PAPACONSTANTINOU NEWS CONFERENCE OPENING REMARKS:

“It (the EU-IMF aid package) involves a comprehensive three year economic program and financing conditions.”

“We are very confident that these negotiations… will be concluded rather soon. They are going well.”

“We are all confident that this will be done in time and we will be able to continue to finance Greek public debt without any problem.

ASKED IF GREECE SHOULD HAVE GONE STRAIGHT TO THE IMF:

“There was never a possibility or an option on our side to go separately to the IMF. Greece is a member of the euro zone.”

“I want to categorically state that any notion of restructuring is off the table.”

ASKED ABOUT INVESTORS BETTING ON DEFAULT:

“I can see that a number of people have been betting in particular ways. All I can say is they will lose their shirts.”

ON LEAVING THE EURO ZONE:

“It is a scenario that has absolutely no basis to reality. Greece is a member of the euro zone, will always remain a member of the euro zone, will always remain within the European Union.”

ON TIMING:

“I think early May is a good ballpark figure. I don’t want to give a particular date. We all know that these negotiations take weeks. We’re working very fast as we talk here — the team of EU, ECB and the IMF and Greece is working with our collaborators on technical aspects. So it is very clear that we want to conclude this as soon as possible.”

ASKED ABOUT OPPOSITION IN GERMANY TO AID:

“They are completely on board on the need for a framework of conditionality and fully supportive of a decision that Germany has co-signed at the level of heads of state and government and at the Euro group level.”

ASKED ABOUT OTHER WAYS OF RAISING FUNDS:

“There are many options that will allow us to gain by reducing the stake in public companies. The Greek state has an enormous number of real estate assets, over hundreds of billions. The proper exploitation, in the good sense of the word, will allow us to raise funds and also release resources into the private sector.

IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN

On Greece: “I am impressed with the Greek authorities’ determination to take the actions necessary to put their economy back on track.

“Since we received the request for financial support last Friday, our discussions with the authorities have accelerated. The IMF, the European partners, and everyone involved in the financing effort recognizes the need for speed. I am confident that we will conclude discussions in time to meet Greece’s needs.

“We are all aware of the seriousness of the situation and the courageous efforts being made by the Greek people.”

FRENCH ECONOMY MINISTER CHRISTINE LAGARDE ON WHETHER GERMANY IS AGAINST HELPING GREECE:

“No, they are not refusing to help Greece, as far as I know. We are all in line and negotiations are going on in this very moment.

“We are showing solidarity, but we are also being demanding.

“I am confident about the negotiations because everyone will benefit from them. I expect a deal in the first days of May.”

ON EU’s CURRENCY

“It is important to help Greece because it is one of the 16 members of the euro zone. If one country is under attack over the quality of our common currency, every euro-zone country should rush to help.”

ON CANADIAN COMMENTS THE AID PACKAGE FOR GREECE WOULD BE NEED TO BE BIGGER:

“You have to remember that the package is a three-year package. The commitment for 30 billion euros made by Eurogroup is just for the first year. So now we are negotiating.”

CANADIAN FINANCE MINISTER JIM FLAHERTY

Flaherty told reporters that some European countries worry that a 45 billion-euro ($60.5 billion) rescue package for Greece from the European and the IMF will be insufficient.

“Some countries think it’s not enough,” Flaherty said.

Asked which countries thought the package was too small, he said: “Some of the G20 countries, including some of the European countries. There is concern about making sure that the package is enough so that it’s a one-time event.”

Highlights: Comments on Greece from IMF meeting