WASHINGTON: Egypt has officially requested talks with the International Monetary Fund on a possible financing program and discussions will begin on Jan. 15, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday.
"This mission will constitute the first step in the process leading to possible financial assistance," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters. "We expect that this visit will be followed by further discussions," he added, suggesting it could be some time before a financing deal is struck with Egypt.
Egypt turned down an IMF loan of $3 billion offered in June, AP reported, but it is facing dire financial difficulties, with the country’s net international reserves dropping 50 percent in a year, while tourism and foreign investments have plummeted.
Rice also said an IMF mission, together with European partners, would visit Greece for talks on economic developments on Jan. 17. He said the aim of current talks between Greece and private bondholders was to cut Greece’s debt to GDP ratio to 120 percent by 2020.
"It is an issue between Greece and its creditors and once they come to a formal agreement the Fund will evaluate whether it is consistent with the debt sustainability target," Rice added.