Ukraine: IMF ready to start aid negotiations

Written by AFP | Washington | Updated: Mar 14 2014, 19:11pm hrs
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it was ready to launch aid negotiations with Ukraine.

"The IMF fact-finding mission working in Kiev since March 4 has made good progress in assessing the situation," IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said in a statement.

"Following an informal briefing today of the IMF's Executive Board, management has asked the team to stay in Kiev and begin a process of negotiation."

The team is discussing conditions for a Europe and US-backed rescue loan with the Ukrainian authorities, as tensions mount over Russia's military incursion into Crimea.

Lagarde said the IMF team would work with the authorities to develop a reform program "that will result in sound economic governance and sustainable growth, while protecting the vulnerable in society."

The mission plans to wrap up its work by March 21, she said.

Officials of the new Ukraine government have said they need at least USD 15 billion, which could include contributions from Europe, to stabilise and restructure their finances, left in shambles by the ousted government of Viktor Yanukovych.

Lagarde met on Wednesday with Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in Washington.

"We are keen to help Ukraine on its path to economic stability and prosperity," she said after their meeting. "In that context, the IMF will continue to consult with its membership and other international financial institutions on how best to support the people of Ukraine."