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IMF Goes All Greek, Ignores Questions on Tunisia, Late on Sri Lanka, Staying in Hungary

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 14, updated – The International Monetary Fund has become an all or nearly all Greek show. At its biweekly press briefing on Thursday, nearly all the questions were on Greece.

Spokesman Gerry Rice even expressed frustration, and said he would look for other questions on the IMF's online briefing center. But there, he ignored Inner City Press questions on Sri Lanka and Tunisia:

On Sri Lanka, please explain the IMF's position on (not) providing budget support, and if increased defense spending plays a role in it*

On Tunisia, what is the status of the IMF considering a loan or program to the country?

   Instead, Rice went with online standby Santo Domingo, Ukraine and then Hungary, denying that the IMF is closing its resident representative office there. Rice promoted an upcoming press availability by Christine Lagarde.

   Under her, the IMF has become even less about Africa than before, another than recently promoting its $18 million facility to Mali, in which France just intervened. And so it goes at the IMF. Watch this site.

Update: later, after expiration of the embargo and deadline, the IMF sent the below on Sri Lanka, still nothing on Tunisia:

Thanks for your question. In view of Sri Lanka’s ready access to international capital markets, IMF financial support for Sri Lanka’s budget is not required at this juncture. Please see press release just issued by the mission team. We have nothing further to add.

   This is spin, but we appreciate it. But what about Tunisia? Watch this site.

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