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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 06:34 GMT
Argentina to resume IMF talks
Mr Remes Lenicov will visit IMF in Washington
In a bid to convince the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resume economic assistance to Argentina, economy minister, Jorge Remes Lenicov will on Tuesday visit Washington to present his package of economic measures.

"He is coming for two days to present his plans and start a discussion," said the Fund's deputy managing director, Eduardo Aninat.

Renewed economic aid is vital to enable Argentina to restore economic and social stability to the country which has been racked by economic crisis and bloody street protests since the former government defaulted on debt payments late last year.

The Fund is expected to be keen to help, though any assistance would be conditional.

Further moves required

The IMF did not immediately comment on Argentina's crisis plan, which includes sharp cuts in public spending and the floating of the peso against the dollar.

This led Mr Remes Lenicov to chastise the Fund, insisting that "there should have been a stronger reply".

On Thursday, the IMF's silence was partially broken:

"They have done a couple of things, but not enough yet to warrant a [loans] program," said Mr Aninat.

"They are going to have to do some more things and this is a good opportunity to sit down and talk."

Further supportive statements are expected later on Friday.

Not imminent

Next week's meeting will not include discussions about the size of any loans, Mr Aninat warned.

Separately, a US official warned against assuming that lending is about to be resumed.

The official said the meeting would be just "one step on a very long road".

Return to normal

By the time the meeting with the IMF starts, Argentina's peso will have become a freely floating currency.

A ban on exchange rate trading that has been in place since last weekend will end on Monday.

Argentina's banks had also been closed until Monday, but on Thursday the government said they would open early and operate normally on Friday.

See also:

06 Feb 02 | Business
Argentina halts currency trading
04 Feb 02 | Business
Argentina unveils crisis package
30 Jan 02 | Business
IMF tells Argentina to cut spending
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