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Albania: IMF Team Due In Tirana

Washington, 7 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - A team of International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials is expected to travel to Albania next week to start negotiations on what financial assistance the IMF may be able to offer the struggling country.

They will be followed immediately by several teams of experts to provide quick technical help in rebuilding the tax system and the central bank, according to a spokeswoman in Washington.

The fund's proposals for helping Albania were outlined most recently at the Rome international conference on Albania last week. It's ideas have been incorporated into a draft recovery plan prepared by the World Bank, the European Commission and the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development).

The IMF says that while the elections clarified the political situation, Albania's economic problems "remain very serious." Without government control of all of the country to provide security, tax collections have fallen badly and the resulting high deficit has raised the yearly inflation rate to 40 percent.

The IMF says its key objective will be to initiate macroeconomic stabilization and rebuild the government's ability to operate.