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Russia: Chernomyrdin Hopes For Release Of IMF Funds Soon

Moscow, 28 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin says he hopes that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be ready to release the latest drawing on Moscow's loan in the next few days.

The Interfax news agency quoted Chernomyrdin yesterday as telling reporters after a meeting of the Advisory Council on Foreign Investment in Moscow that Russia itself was largely to blame for the delays in release of the loan traunches in the autumn, but that the government has gotten tax collections back on track in November and December.

An IMF review team left Moscow over the weekend, saying it still had some work to finish up before it could submit a recommendation on release of the next $340 million traunch. The three-year, $10 billion loan is paid out on a monthly basis following reviews of Russia's continuing adherence to economic reform goals established with the IMF.

IMF sources in Washington indicate Chernomyrdin may be over-optimistic in his hope for a quick release of the next traunch. The sources say a meeting of the fund's Board of Executive Directors has not yet been set to take up the review.

Last week, an IMF spokesman in Washington said the review team would finish up its work at headquarters before submitting its report, but declined to say when that might be.