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Georgia: International Monetary Fund To Help Government

Tbilisi, 26 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative in Georgia said today that the fund will do its best to help the cash-strapped country. Speaking after meeting with Georgia's interim President Nino Burdjanadze, IMF representative Jonathan Dunn said the fund is "looking forward" to working with Georgia's interim administration and the next administration.

Yesterday, Burdjanadze said Georgia is on the brink of economic collapse, and called for Western economic aid to help the country make a fresh start. Last night, Georgia's minister of finance became the third member of ousted President Eduard Shevardnadze's government to resign.

The IMF had previously told Shevardnadze's administration that it would not make loans to Georgia under a poverty-reduction program until it dealt with corruption and tax evasion.

Meanwhile, Georgia's main opposition parties today named Mikhail Saakashvili as their sole candidate for the 4 January presidential election to replace ousted Eduard Shevardnadze.

Georgia's acting President Nino Burdjanadze made the announcement and said the united opposition bloc is confident they will win the election.

Also today, Georgia's parliament is scheduled to meet to discuss a date for parliamentary elections.