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IMF Indicates Help For Argentina May Take Time - 2002-03-29


An International Monetary Fund spokesman says the IMF is working to help Argentina secure loans which will pull the country out of its economic crisis.

IMF spokesman Tom Dawson says a mission will head to Buenos Aires in early April to discuss ways in which Argentina can secure a needed loan.

He says if the first mission is fruitful, another will follow. "If things go well, a mission would go down shortly after the spring meetings and would have the potential of working on a draft letter of intent," he said.

But American University Economics Professor Kevin Carey says that leaves the IMF free to do whatever it wants. "That's very much the equivalent of saying the end product here at some point will be a letter, but again that ties them down to absolutely nothing over the next few weeks," he said.

Mr. Dawson stresses the importance of remaining circumspect and resolving issues before taking action. While achieving results quickly is good, he says, it is crucial to get it right.

"We have established a good relationship. We're working to find the ways we can to support the government in what is, continues to be a very difficult situation," he said.

Tom Dawson says the IMF remains concerned about banking practices in Argentina, especially in some provinces where currency alternatives have been circulating. He says the IMF wants to see more financial safety nets in place before committing to a loan.

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