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EU Ready To Lend Financial Support To Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels on March 1
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said that the European Union is ready to give budgetary support to Kyrgyzstan.

Barroso was speaking at a joint press conference in Brussels with Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva, who is in Belgium for a two-day visit to discuss her country's relationship with both the EU and NATO.

The EU has already pledged 118 million euros in humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan for 2010-11. However, the EU commission will soon send a mission to Bishkek to study a possible need for extra budgetary assistance together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- a move that the EU usually reserves for countries in its immediate neighborhood.

Barroso told RFE/RL that the EU Commission stands ready to support Kyrgyzstan if it follows the reform program set out by the IMF.

"If these conditions are met, the conditions I've mentioned, we could provide additional microfinancial assistance to address the gap in the external financing needs,"

According to an EU diplomat, the bloc's mission to Kyrgyzstan, consisting of financial experts from the commission, will be travelling to the country "as soon as possible."