National News
September 12,2018

Pompeo said US would not block Pakistan if it seeks IMF bailout: Fawad Chaudhry


ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured Pakistan last week that Washington would not try to block any request for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday.

The remarks, which Chaudhry said Pompeo made during his visit to Pakistan on Wednesday, come in stark contrast to Pompeo´s warnings in July that the United States had serious reservations about the IMF giving money to Pakistan due to concerns Islamabad would use the cash to pay off Chinese loans.

Chaudhry told Reuters that relations between the United States and Pakistan were "broken" before Pompeo´s trip to Islamabad but the visit had "set many things straight" and reinvigorated ties.

"He assured Pakistan that if Pakistan opted to go to IMF for any financial help, the USA will not oppose it," Chaudhry said in the capital, Islamabad.

Responding to request for comment on Chaudhry´s remarks, a spokesman for the US State Department said Washington wanted to see "a prosperous Pakistan that contributes positively toward regional stability and security."

The spokesman added: "We understand that Pakistan has not requested assistance from the IMF. If they do request assistance, as we do in all cases in evaluating any loan program, we will examine closely all aspects."

The new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who took office in August, is trying to avert a currency crisis.

Pakistani officials say they are discussing taking drastic measures to avert seeking a bailout from the IMF, which has come to Pakistan´s rescue 14 times since 1980, including most recently in 2013.

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