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IMF chief says no immediate sign Greece needs help

Debt-ridden Greece has not asked the International Monetary Fund for help and there is no immediate sign of its needing to do so, the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said.

European Union leaders last week agreed to create a safety net for Greece in which the IMF would have a part to play but Strauss-Kahn said there was no indication at the moment that Athens would require assistance.

“I hope that the EU strategy for Greece works,” he said, on a visit to Warsaw's business school during a one-day trip to Poland.

“We are ready to help Greece as with any of our members but it is not obvious today that help will be absolutely necessary.”

Strauss-Kahn's remarks, made on the day Greece mandated five banks to sell a new benchmark 7-year bond, were the first he has made on Greece in public since the EU deal was announced.

The IMF said on Friday it was “following developments closely” but has otherwise remained very quiet about the proposed rescue package, which is extremely sensitive politically.

Under the deal agreed in Brussels, the IMF would put up a third of funds if a rescue package were needed, with the rest coming from the euro zone but key details about the conditions under which it might be requested are still unclear.

The involvement of the IMF, a condition imposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel was agreed over the objections of the European Central Bank and in the face of reluctance from other EU states including France. (Reuters)