The head of the International Monetary Fund has sought to reassure Greeks who fear its involvement will make their country’s situation worse.
Talks over Greece dominated IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington, a day after Athens sought a multi-billion euro rescue package from the agency and the EU.
The IMF is known for demanding that borrowing countries make unpopular spending cuts.
But its chief, although he would not answer questions about Greece directly, said they were not the only ones to demonise the IMF.
“What is the IMF doing?” asked Dominique Strass-Kahn rhetorically. “We are trying to provide advice on behalf of the entire international community; trying to provide resources to help on behalf of the entire community. So the Greek citizens should not fear the IMF. We are here to try to help them.”
The Greek prime minister George Papandreou has said the country needs a bailout as a matter of “national necessity”.
Some G20 countries are said to fear the 45 billion euros it is asking for may not be enough.
The main obstacle is opposition in Germany. But analysts are warning that a deal must be reached quickly to prevent the turmoil in Greece from spreading to other eurozone countries.