IMF suspends loan talks with Belarus


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suspended its loan talks with the Belarusian government, a representative of the international financial organization told reporters in Washington on July 20.

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"Discussions toward a program are on hold pending clarity on whether there is high level support in Belarus for policies, particularly in the state-owned enterprises and utility sectors," said William Murray, deputy spokesman in the IMF Communications Department.

He said that a team of IMF experts had visited Belarus last month "just to discuss recent economic developments and advance preparations" for the annual Article IV Consultation scheduled for late October.

Belarus seeks to borrow $3 billion from the IMF at an interest rate of some 2.3 percent and for a period of 10 years. The Fund has warned that it will provide the loan on condition that Belarus starts sweeping structural reform to enhance the role of the private sector.

Speaking to reporters on June 30, Deputy Finance Minister Maksim Yermalovich announced a "pause" in Belarus' loan talks with the IMF. Experts say that Minsk has not yet accepted the international financial organization's recommendations for reforming its state-owned enterprise sector.