Arab Today, arab today top us treasury official on athens crisis trip
Last Updated : GMT 16:08:42
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Top US Treasury official on Athens crisis trip

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Top US Treasury official on Athens crisis trip

Athens - AFP

Senior US Treasury Department official Lael Brainard held talks with Greece\'s interim finance minister on Tuesday as Washington took a more hands-on approach to resolving Europe\'s debt crisis. In a rare visit by a top US financial official, Brainard met with George Zannias, appointed finance minister earlier in May in a one-month caretaker government tasked with holding elections on June 17. A ministry statement said only that Zannias had discussed \"issues regarding developments in Europe and Greece\" with Brainard and Christopher Smart, US deputy assistant secretary for Europe and Eurasia. The ministry declined to give further details on the meeting. Fear of a Greek euro exit has intensified since an inconclusive May 6 election that punished political parties applying an unpopular European Union-International Monetary Fund recovery plan. A Greek radical leftist party which has pledged to tear up the plan was catapulted to second place by angry voters, and is now seen as a possible victor in a new ballot set for June 17. European leaders have threatened Athens with a loan freeze if it fails to complete structural reforms pledged in return for the multi-billion rescue package. Zannias formerly headed the state\'s council of economic advisors and was a key negotiator in Greece\'s recent landmark debt rollover. The Treasury Department said that Brainard, a top lieutenant to Secretary Timothy Geithner, would also travel to Frankfurt -- where the European Central Bank is based -- as well as to Madrid, Paris and Berlin. All those cities have been key poles of influence in the crisis. According to the US Treasury, Brainard was expected to huddle with \"senior government officials\" to \"discuss their plans for achieving economic stability and growth in Europe.\" With events in Europe loaded with potential pitfalls for Obama\'s hopes of reelection in November, the president signaled a new willingness to engage earlier this month. At a G8 summit at Camp David, Obama waded neck-deep into European political waters, backing French and Italian calls for more focus on growth over German-backed austerity.

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