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President Kurmanbek Bakiev asked ministers to find other ways to reduce Kyrgyz debt (RFE/RL)
March 1, 2007 -- An International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation has arrived in Bishkek for a two-week mission to clarify plans after the Kyrgyz government balked at an IMF-sponsored debt-relief program.
The head of the delegation, Paulo Neuhaus, said the IMF would like to know the Kyrgyz government's strategy after nearly a year of debate ended when ministers rejected the idea of participation in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative in February.
The HIPC initiative provided for the reduction of the country's external debt by some $1 billion -- roughly half of what Kyrgyzstan owes.
Opponents argued that the accompanying conditions -- including fiscal strictures -- would have tied the government's hands.
Ex-Prime Minister Feliks Kulov's government, which collapsed with his resignation in December, began exploring the possibility of HIPC participation for Kyrgyzstan in early 2006.