Greek crisis: IMF negotiating team gives up and goes home

Emma Haslett
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) team responsible for negotiating a deal with leaders from Greece to unlock funds which will prevent it from defaulting are heading back to Washington, the organisation said today.

In a statement released this afternoon, it said the team had left Brussels after "failing to make progress on a debt deal that would help the country avoid default".

"The ball is very much in Greece's court," said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice during a briefing with journalists.

"We are well away from an agreement," he added. "There are major differences between us in most key areas. There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently."

But he insisted the IMF was still involved. "The IMF doesn't leave the table," he said.

The news came as Alexis Tsipras met with Jean-Claude Juncker for high-level talks. Afterwards, the Greek Prime Minister said the conversation, with the European president, had been "important, interesting and friendly".

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