Christine Lagarde has dismissed the recent WikiLeaks report that suggests the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is deliberately trying to push Greece towards a default to force it into a deal. The IMF chief, in a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, has said the speculations are "simply nonsense".
She clarified that the IMF "conducts its negotiations in good faith, not by way of threats", besides adding she wants negotiations to continue and is expecting a "speedy conclusion" to the talks. She also urged the prime minister to ensure the safety of the IMF team visiting Athens to negotiate the deal and that they get privacy for internal discussions.
On 2 April, WikiLeaks released a transcript, which it claimed was of a 19 March teleconference between three IMF officials that showed them discussing options, including threatening to pull out of the bailout deal. This was purportedly to force Greece and its creditors to reach a deal by April, ahead of the crucial 23 June EU referendum in the UK.
Following the release of the leaked transcript, the Greek prime minister wrote to the IMF chief seeking clarification on the organisation's stance on negotiations with regards to Greek's bailout deal. Lagarde replied, "My view of the ongoing negotiations is that we are still a good distance away from having a coherent program that I can present to our Executive Board.
"In the interest of the Greek people, we need to bring these negotiations to a speedy conclusion. I agree with you that successful negotiations are built on mutual trust, and this weekend's incident has made me concerned as to whether we can indeed achieve progress in a climate of extreme sensitivity to statements of either side. On reflection, however, I have decided to allow our team to return to Athens to continue the discussions," Lagarde wrote.
If deemed necessary, the fiscal targets for Greece would be lowered "to have a realistic chance of them being fully met", the IMF chief added. She reiterated that she can back a bailout programme "that is credible and based on realistic assumptions, and that delivers on its objective of setting Greece on a path of robust growth while gradually restoring debt sustainability."