WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund is still awaiting a deal to provide debt relief for Greece before it can agree to participate in a new loan program, a fund spokesman said Thursday.

This contradicted comments Wednesday from Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazimir, who suggested IMF chief Christine Lagarde had convinced the fund's board to approve a new loan for troubled Greece.

"Nothing has changed since the agreement on policies were achieved last week," IMF spokesman William Murray told reporters.

The discussions on a debt sustainability agreement are "only just getting underway," and the fund still needs a "credible strategy" on the debt before taking the new loan package to the IMF board for approval, he said.

Greece, the European Union and the IMF last week announced an agreement on the policy package, which includes tax and pension reforms.

That agreement is aimed at releasing the next tranche of aid from the third, 86-billion-euro ($94 billion) bailout deal Greece and its creditors secured in July 2015.

A compromise on the debt is required to unblock the funds Greece needs to repay seven billion euros ($7.6 billion) in maturing loans in July.

But that could be the thorniest part of the negotiations with Europe, which has been reluctant to provide more debt relief for Greece, particularly Germany, where additional concessions are unpopular and a general election is looming in September.