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Bulgaria: Approval Of IMF Loan Expected

Washington, 11 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The International Monetary Fund's board of directors is expected to agree to a standby loan for Bulgaria today in an effort to support the country's economic reform efforts.

Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov yesterday expressed optimism that the loan, worth some $650 million, will be approved.

Observers say that the first drawing of the IMF loan could be made available before Bulgarian parliamentary elections set for April 19.

The World Bank is considering loans of some $290 million. But those loans will not be approved until a new Bulgarian parliament is seated.

Earlier this week, a group of donor nations and organizations met with Bulgarian officials in Brussels. The group later issued a statement praising Bulgaria's caretaker government for advancing reforms despite what it called "exceptionally difficult circumstances."