IMF chief Lagarde welcomes Athens commitment to make loan payment on April 9

WASHINGTON (REUTERS/AFP) - Greece has agreed to repay its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by April 9, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said, after a meeting with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Sunday. She added that she welcomed his confirmation that Athens would make a loan payment due to the IMF later this week.

"I welcomed confirmation by the Minister that payment owing to the Fund would be forthcoming on April 9th," IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said in a statement after meeting with Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. She said due diligence efforts in Athens and talks with teams in Brussels over the terms of Greece's bailout would "resume promptly on Monday".

There was speculation ahead of the visit that Athens might fail to meet the 460 million euro (S$679 million) IMF installment if forced to choose between the IMF and paying government workers.Ms Lagarde said repaying the IMF debt was in the country’s best interest. Greece has not received the remaining funds in its 240 billion euro European Union-IMF rescue package as Brussels has demanded to first approve Greece’s revised reform plan.Ms Lagarde encouraged Athens to continue talks in Brussels – which she said would resume on Monday – and to “conduct the necessary due diligence in Athens”.

“The Fund remains committed to work together with the authorities to help Greece return to a sustainable path of growth and employment,” Ms Lagarde added.