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IMF Opens Loan Talks With Serbia

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation has opened preliminary talks with Serbian officials on a new loan.

With a public debt at almost 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Belgrade urgently needs the money to support its economy in 2013.

The weeklong round of talks will initially focus on Serbia's economic policies and the 2013 budget.

The budget deficit for 2012 is more than 7 percent of GDP.

Bogdan Lissovolik, the IMF permanent representative in Serbia, has said the talks will continue if Serbia meets the necessary conditions.

The IMF suspended a $1.3 billion credit for Serbia in February because the country's government was overspending in the run-up to May's general elections.

Serbia has an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent and a volatile currency.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP

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