March 9, 2017 / 4:51 PM / 9 months ago

IMF welcomes 'progress' in Greek bailout talks, deal unclear

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund is seeing progress in negotiations over Greece’s bailout program but prospects for an agreement are still unclear, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday.

A man looks down as a Greek national flag flutters atop one of the bastions of the 17th century fortress of Palamidi under an overcast sky at the southern port city of Nafplio, Greece, February 19. 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Rice told a regular news briefing that an IMF mission is in Athens and that the fund typically refrains from commenting on such discussions while they are underway.

“There has been progress in some important areas and we welcome that. However, differences remain in important areas,” Rice said. “It’s still to early to speculate on when an agreement might be reached.”

Asked if he was referring to an agreement that would see the Fund participate financially in the current bailout program, Rice said was not specific, saying: “I‘m talking about the IMF’s reaching an agreement in the negotiations that are ongoing.”

Rice did say, however, that he was not aware of any IMF board discussions about a specific financial contribution.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by James Dalgleish

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