WASHINGTON, April 21 The International Monetary
Fund praised on Friday Greece's fiscal over-performance last
year but said it still needed clarification from euro zone
governments on what debt relief Athens can expect before joining
the latest Greek bailout.
Greek statistics office data showed that the country far
exceeded its international lenders' budget demands last year,
posting its first overall budget surplus in 21 years even when
debt repayments are included.
"The number that came out this morning is well above what we
have been projecting, what anybody has been projecting," the
head of the IMF's European department Poul Thomsen said.
He said the Fund would send its experts to Athens next week
to help finalise a reform package agreed between euro zone
finance ministers and Greece two weeks ago in Malta.
But before the IMF would join the latest bailout for Greece,
now shouldered by the euro zone alone, the euro zone governments
would have to give the Fund a better idea of how long they
expected Greece to maintain a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of
GDP and therefore what kind of debt relief Athens could expect.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski)