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Bulgaria: IMF Officials Say Early Loan Drawing Uncertain

Washington, 28 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - International Monetary Fund officials say it is still uncertain whether it will be possible for the IMF to disburse a loan drawing to Bulgaria before parliamentary elections April 19.

The officials said there is an urgent need to stabilize the Bulgarian economy and the IMF is interested in pursing all avenues.

They confirm that the fund and Bulgarian authorities are working together on possible actions the IMF could take quickly, but that nothing has been worked out yet.

Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov said in Prague today that he hopes the IMF will release a $200 million payment before April.

The fund approved a stand-by loan of around $582 million for Bulgaria last summer, but blocked Sofia from drawing more than the first $116 million tranche after the country's economy rapidly deteriorated in the autumn.