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Pompeo has assured US won't block IMF bailout: Pakistan


REUTERS
ISLAMABAD
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured Pakistan last week Washington would not try to block any request for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistani 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.
Those comments rattled Islamabad, which is facing a currency crisis and may have no option but to turn again to the IMF for a rescue if staunch allies China and Saudi Arabia do not offer more loans to prop up its foreign currency reserves.
Chaudhry told Reuters that relations between United States and Pakistan were"broken" before Pompeo's trip to Islamabad but the visit had"set many things straight" and re-invigorated 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.
The US embassy in Islamabad did not have any immediate comment.
The new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who took office in August, is trying to avert a currency crisis caused by a shortage of dollars in an economy hit by a ballooning current account deficit and dwindling foreign currency reserves.
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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