The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Sunday approved a three-year, 30-billion-euro ($38-billion) loan to Greece, the IMF said at its headquarters in Washington.

The loan is part of a 110-billion-euro, European Union-IMF aid package to help Greece out of its financial woes.

The IMF will make 5.5 billion euros immediately available to Athens, with 10 billion over the course of the rest of the year from the IMF and 30 billion from the EU this year.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the step would “contribute to the broad international effort underway to help bring stability to the euro area and secure recovery in the global economy”.

The help from the international community should help return Greece to economic growth, he said.

“The Greek government should be commended for committing to an historic course of action that will give this proud nation a chance of rising above its current troubles and securing a better future for the Greek people,” said Strauss-Kahn.

The IMF believes austerity measures instituted by Athens will help Greece overcome the crisis, IMF vice director John Lipsky said.

“The Greek authorities have now developed a bold program with strong upfront policies to re-establish credibility and regain market confidence,” he said.

Central to recovery are Greece’s effort to bring its deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2014, as well as efforts to create a more flexible job market, increase competition and slim down the public sector.

The country is in urgent need of funds before May 19 in order to finance a 9-billion-euro 10-year bond.

Concerns about Greece’s economic woes led the euro to a 14-month low last week and prompted an emergency meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels Sunday to debate proposals to set up a 600-billion-euro ($765-billion) rescue facility for eurozone states that fall into financial difficulty.

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