First round of talks with IMF concludes

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WASHINGTON – The first round of talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the release of the next instalment of monetary aid had come to a close, a private TV channel reported on Sunday.
According to the TV channel’s sources, the Pakistani delegation, headed by Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh discussed the release of the next tranche with the IMF. During the first round of talks, Pakistan had faced difficult questions because of a bad economic situation in the country.
The Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) news agency reported that Shaikh discussed development partnership with leaders of major economic powers in separate meetings at the annual IMF-World Bank (IMF-WB) gathering. Shaikh briefed German, British and American leaders about the government’s focus on development as well as its efforts towards greater economic stabilisation.
German Finance Minister Dick Niebel offered his country’s support for Pakistan’s hydro power projects and small dams. At another meeting, Shaikh and United Kingdom’s International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell discussed economic ties between the two countries. Mitchell appreciated Islamabad’s commitment to economic reforms.
The finance minister also had a meeting with the United States Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hormats and discussed cooperation in economic development. The US official assured Shaikh of Washington’s support in getting greater trade access for Pakistan to the European Union.
Earlier, the finance minister met his Chinese counterpart at the World Bank and the two officials pledged to step-up implementation of economic partnership agreements. Next round of talks would be held on Monday in which Shaikh will hold meetings with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iran.
Pakistan’s delegation to IMF-WB spring meetings consisted of Finance Secretary Waqar Masood Khan, Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Salman Siddique, State Bank Governor Shahid Hafeez Kardar, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Nadeem-ul-Haq, Economic Affairs Secretary Abdul Wajid Rana and Economic Affairs Counsellor at the embassy Zahid Hafeez.