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IMF official: Europe should look to restructure Greek debt

AMSTERDAM, Oct 8 (Reuters) - European countries shouldconsider restructuring the Greek debt they hold if the country'sfinancial burden proves to be unsustainable, an IMF executivedirector told a Dutch newspaper.

"A contribution from governments will then certainly be atopic of discussion," Dutch paper Het Financieele Dagblad quotedMenno Snel as saying in an interview published on Monday.

His comment highlights a key differences between theEuropean Union, European Central Bank and International MonetaryFund - Greece's "troika" of lenders - over how to solve itsdebt crisis.

European officials told Reuters late last month that the IMFis pushing them to restructure debts Athens owes them, anuncomfortable prospect for leaders who find the idea of theirgovernments taking losses on the debt politically unpalatable.

Europe would prefer to give Athens more time to get back ontrack with its fiscal programme.

Snel is one of the 24 executive board members at the IMF,representing the Netherlands and 12 other countries from centraland eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and theMiddle-East.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by John Stonestreet)

((gilbert.kreijger@thomsonreuters.com)(+31205045007)(Reuters

Messaging: gilbert.kreijger.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: EUROZONE GREECE/DEBT