The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it is in a strong financial position and has the resources to help member countries in need, amid an escalating euro zone debt crisis.
The IMF also welcomed steps announced on Thursday by the European Central Bank to keep unlimited liquidity in place until next year to deal with the debt crisis, which so far has led to bailouts of EU members Greece and Ireland, spokeswoman Caroline Atkinson said.
The statements and actions today confirm that the ECB is ready to take steps as necessary to preserve financial stability in the euro zone, and that is of course a welcome confirmation, Atkinson told a regular news briefing.
She said IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will visit Greece on December 7 for talks with the authorities. It is the first time the IMF chief will visit Greece since the country's 110 billion euro ($145.7 billion) EU/IMF bailout loan.
Strauss-Kahn, a former French economy minister who European political pundits believe is in the run for the French presidency, will also travel to Brussels on December 4 to address the European parliamentary network and after that meet with Eurogroup finance ministers to discuss the IMF's six-month economic review of the euro zone.
Strauss-Kahn, in India on Thursday, said some European economies were not far from the edge of the cliff and must deal with fiscal consolidation.
Atkinson said Strauss-Kahn believed the European situation would be brought under control by European actions.
We remain hopeful and observe that European authorities have generally managed to come up with measures and proposals to address the problems collectively, as well as ... where preemptive steps have been taken by countries facing market pressures, she added.
With the biggest market pressures now on debt-laden countries such as Portugal and Spain, Atkinson repeated that no other European countries have requested IMF financial assistance or other support.
A U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday that the United States would be ready to support the extension of the European Financial Stability Facility via an extra commitment of money from the IMF.
The move would enlarge the 750 billion euro ($980 billion) EU/IMF European stability fund. The U.S. Treasury said no immediate talks were under way on giving the IMF additional resources to support further EU bailouts.
We are in a strong financial position to address our members' needs, Atkinson told reporters, adding that IMF loans are made to individual members and not to a pool of resources.
The IMF agreed on Sunday to contribute 22.5 billion euros to a Irish bailout. Atkinson said it was vital that Ireland's economic crisis and the program was designed to put the economy on a sustainable path.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Leslie Adler)