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The International Monetary Fund said Friday it was releasing 3.2 billion euros ($4.6 billion) to Greece but warned there was "no margin for slippage" in the country's reform program.
The funds, part of the 110 billion euro joint bailout with the European Union for the debt-stricken country, came as Europe's leaders and banks struggle to achieve an ostensibly voluntary restructuring of the country's debt to relieve pressure on Athens and avert a forced default.
The IMF said Greece was making "some progress" to get back on a sustainable fiscal path, but stressed the government had to press ahead on reforms required under the IMF-EU program.
But it also said that Europe's richer countries needed to keep up their backing for Athens.
"Greece's debt sustainability hinges critically on timely and vigorous implementation of the adjustment program, with no margin for slippage, and continued support from European partners and private sector involvement," new IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in a statement.
Lagarde said the Greek bailout is "delivering important results," and the Fund predicted the country would return to positive economic growth in the first half of 2012.
"The fiscal deficit is being reduced, the economy is rebalancing, and competitiveness is gradually improving," she said.
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