An agreement among Greece's international creditors on reducing its large debt pile should be "rooted in reality and not in wishful thinking," the head of the International Monetary Fund said ahead of a tense meeting with European leaders.
Cutting short a visit to Asia to attend a Eurogroup meeting on Tuesday in Brussels, Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, told Reuters it was important that an agreement provide a lasting solution to Greece's debt to avoid prolonged uncertainty and further damage to the Greek economy.
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"I am always trying to be constructive but I am driven by two objectives," she said in an interview, "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 on Saturday.
The IMF and euro zone governments are at loggerheads over how to reduce Greece's massive debt load, which is holding up the release of 31 billion euros in emergency loans to Athens.
(Reporting By Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Robert Birsel)