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Bulgaria: International Institutions Plan Bold Aid Program

Sofia, 25 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank have agreed at a meeting in Brussels to organize a consultative group to coordinate support for Bulgaria. The announcement was made yesterday by a World Bank mission in Sofia.

RFE/RL's correspondent in Sofia reports the consultative group hopes to promote what participants called a coherent and bold stabilization-and-structural-reform program to restore market confidence, price stability and growth in Bulgaria. The group will be divided into teams and each will examine different sectors of the country's economy, such as banking, enterprises, macro-economic stabilization, social protection and public information.

The consultative group praised the Bulgarian interim government's "good intentions" and said it will match its mobilization of financial aid with Bulgaria's efforts in implementing reforms.

Our correspondent says the group will be organized as soon as Bulgaria's interim Government reaches agreement on a program with the IMF and World Bank. An IMF negotiating team today holds talks with interim Prime Minister Stefan Sofianski to discuss measures to stabilize the country's economy.