Greek Loan Program in 'Difficult Phase': IMF Chief


WASHINGTON - Dec 5 (Reuters) Greece's IMF-backed economic program is in a "difficult phase" with reform measures moving slowly and the economy weak, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said fiscal adjustment was the main challenge for the new unity government, while prolonged support by European partners for Greece at low interest rates was vital to reduce the country's debt.

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"The new government should use its wider mandate to steadfastly implement the program, which is the best way to help Greece manage the risks it now faces," Lagarde said in a statement after the IMF approved a 2.2 billion euro aid tranche to Greece.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton)