January 11, 2017 / 5:05 PM / 3 years ago

Greek bailout to go ahead with or without IMF - Belgium finance minister

Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt arrives at a euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, August 14, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

LONDON (Reuters) - The euro zone will go ahead with its bailout programme for Greece with or without the involvement of the International Monetary Fund, Belgium’s finance minister told Reuters on Wednesday.

Johan Van Overtveldt said the involvement of the IMF - which has said can only happen if it is the last bailout for Athens and includes debt relief for Greece - would be preferable, but that Euro countries would go ahead even without it.

“As the Eurogroup, and as a monetary union, we would have to go ahead anyway. Preferably with the IMF, but we will go ahead anyway,” he said.

“If the IMF really insists on other issues than those that we consider to be important within the Eurogroup, then we have to face the consequences of that. But there can be no doubt that the presence of the IMF is in every respect a very desirable and efficient thing to have.”

Van Overtveldt added that he was confident that a solution would be found so that the IMF can join the bailout programme.

The Eurogroup holds its next meeting on Jan. 26, when Van Overtveldt said the issue of the bailout would be on the agenda.

Reporting by Jemima Kelly; editing by Marc Jones

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