* Spokesman says IMF has done what it can for Greek debt
* Says talks on Greece not deadlocked
* Urges U.S. to act on fiscal cliff
By Anna Yukhananov
WASHINGTON, Nov 15 The International Monetary
Fund has done what it can to help Greece reach debt
sustainability, a Fund spokesman said, leaving the window open
for further action by the indebted country's European lenders.
"The IMF has done what it needs to do in the context of its
framework," IMF spokesman William Murray told reporters on
Thursday. "Clearly there has to be other actions taken to reach
When asked whether that meant Greece's European lenders
would need to do more, Murray said that is "presumably" who it
meant. He declined to elaborate on what actions are needed.
The IMF has clashed with Greece's other lenders, the
European Central Bank and the European Commission, over how to
make Greece's debt mountain manageable.
The disagreement has held up release of the next 31 billion
euros ($39 billion) in emergency loans Athens needs to stay
Murray said talks were continuing, pointing to the fact that
IMF chief Christine Lagarde was cutting short a visit to Asia to
attend a crucial Eurogroup meeting next week.
"I think that's the clearest example I can give you that
talks are not deadlocked," he said.
Murray said the IMF was sticking to its target of Greek debt
reaching 120 percent of national income by 2020 in order to be
sustainable in the long term.
"It's in Greece's interest, it's in Europe's interests, it's
in the world's interests, that Greece have a sustainable debt
position," he said.
But the country seems unlikely to reach that target on its
current trajectory, with total debt expected to rise to 190
percent of gross domestic product next year.
The IMF also reiterated calls for the United States to act
swiftly in resolving its 'fiscal cliff': $600 billion worth of
automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that will kick in early
next year unless the U.S. Congress can reach a deal.
Without a deal, the United States is likely to slip into
recession, pulling the global economy down with it, Murray said.
"A significant development is that discussions (on the
fiscal cliff) have now been initiated; that is heartening,"
Murray said. "Our message is: deal with it, expeditiously."