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Govt spokesperson: 'IMF lives in its own economic world'

'We don't do whatever the IMF says,' Sofia Voultepsi tells TV station

Sofia Voultepsi is the government's new spokesperson. The translator of the diaries of Slobodan Milošević's wife, she has claimed in the past that the international press has been owed by 'Rothschild and bankers' and that undocumented migrants are 'unarmed invaders, weapons in the hands of the Turks'

New Democracy MP Sofia Voultepsi New Democracy MP Sofia Voultepsi The IMF inhabits its "own economic world" and Greece is not obliged to do what it says, the freshly appointed government spokesperson said on her first full working day in her new job.

Speaking on private Ant1 television on Wednesday, New Democracy MP Sofia Voultepsi said the IMF “has its own way of expressing itself [and] lives in its own economic world. We don't do whatever the IMF says."

Asked to comment on the IMF’s observation in a recent report that "adverse court rulings on past wage cuts and property levies" represented "downside risks" for Greece’s fiscal readjustment programme, Voultepsi remarked that the IMF “has no jurisdiction to interfere in court rulings".

A former journalist, she also said that "information is a sacred issue and I will serve it the way I have had all these years". She refused to be drawn on whether she will reinstate the government’s daily press briefings, which were last held in 2011.

Outspoken

Voultepsi is considered by many as a controversial choice for the position of government spokesperson, given her expressed disregard for the international media in the past.

Following the government’s shutdown of national broadcaster ERT in June last year, which she fully supported, Voultepsi alleged that the BBC was owned by arms dealers and that the international press in general had been sold "to arms dealers, to Rothschild, to bankers".

"If you want Rothschild to judge you that's fine. Rothschild will not judge me personally," she told ERT journalists, in a live telephone interview on TV.

In January, less than two weeks after 12 women and children drowned in a controversial coastguard operation near the islet of Farmakonisi in the eastern Aegean, the New Democracy MP described migrants are "unarmed invaders, weapons in the hands of the Turks". She alleged that in 1995 Turkey claimed the island was under Greek occupation and that since then "there have been dozens of landings [of migrants], and according to the law of probability, there was bound to be an accident".

Pro-Milošević

In the 1990s, she covered the war in Yugolavia for the Eleftheros Typos newspaper. Recalling her experiences in 1999, she praised the Greek press for resisting what she described as Nato’s line on the conflict and for making the Greek public the "best informed" on the war.

"If Yugoslavia downed the first myth of an omnipotent Nato, the Greek press shot down the second at its outset. Greek journalists, in their overwhelming majority, reacted to destruction and did not succumb to pressures to align themselves with the views of Nato, despite the unbelievable campaign to defame them. The Greek press gave us the best-informed public in the world and refused to be flattened and be turned into a board on which Nato would hang its announcements," she told a conference.

Voultepsi’s reports were widely seen as sympathetic to Slobodan Milošević's government in Belgrad. In 1996, her translation of the war diaries of Mira Marković, Milošević’s wife, was published in Greek.

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