Lagarde welcomes loan payment commitment from Athens

Ms Lagarde said continuing uncertainty over Greece’s ability to repay its debt was not in the country’s interest

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has welcomed news that Athens will make a loan payment due to the IMF this week.

On Sunday, Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said his country intended to meet “all obligations to all its creditors, ad infinitum”.

His comments followed a meeting in Washington with International Monetary Fund officials.

It has been almost five years since the start of the Greek bailout.

Ms Lagarde said in a statement on Sunday that she and Mr Varoufakis had agreed continuing uncertainty over Greece’s ability to repay its debt was not in the country’s interest.

“I welcomed confirmation by the minister that payment owing to the Fund would be forthcoming on April 9th,” Ms Lagarde said.

“I expressed my appreciation for the minister’s commitment to improve the technical teams’ ability to work with the authorities to conduct the necessary due diligence in Athens, and to enhance the policy discussions with the teams in Brussels, both of which will resume promptly on Monday.”

There had been concerns that Greece would not be able to meet its IMF loan repayment of €450m.

Aid frozen

Greece has been in tense, drawn-out negotiations in recent months with its creditors over its bailout program.

In February, its government negotiated a four-month extension to its bailout in return for dropping key anti-austerity measures and undertaking a eurozone-approved reform programme.

But IMF leaders together with the European Union have frozen aid to the cash-strapped nation until its government comes to an agreement on the reform package.

Last week, the country presented a new package of reforms in the hope of receiving some funding, but the proposal has not yet received approval from EU and IMF lenders.

The delay of about €7.2bn ($7.9bn; £5.3bn) due to be delivered to Greece has forced the government to use its reserves to meet its obligations.