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Bulgaria - Bulgarian Leaders Expect IMF Approval Tomorrow

Sofia, 10 April 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov says he expects the International Monetary Fund's board of directors to approve a new standby loan agreement tomorrow, allowing the first 175 million dollars to arrive as soon as next week. The accord would provide Bulgaria with 650 million dollars in new IMF loans to help restructure the economy into a competitive market system. Meanwhile, Stoyanov said today that negotiations on another 290 million dollars in loans from the World Bank are going to be finalized soon.

Stoyanov said the main responsibility for the reforms demanded by the IMF would fall upon the next parliament, which is to be elected on April 19. Stoyanov said caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Sofianski will speak on Bulgarian television tonight to release details of the IMF agreement.

Stoyanov also said Sofianski will travel to Russia tomorrow to sign a new agreement for the supply of Russian gas. But our correspondent in Sofia says the trip could be delayed because of differences with Moscow on a proposed deal to sell Sofia Mig-29 fighter planes.