IMF chief, Ukraine PM hold talks
IMF chief Christine Lagarde held talks with Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov as the Fund maintained a freeze on new funds for the country, the IMF said.
The two met Wednesday in Zurich, and discussed "key policies and reforms needed to ensure the country's sustainable economic growth," Fund spokesman David Hawley said.
The meeting came a week after the country's finance minister was replaced, and more than a year since the IMF last released to Kiev any funds from its ê15.3 billion loan facility established in July 2010.
In November the IMF acknowledged a "pause" in disbursements -- only ê3.4 billion has been released so far -- as it presses the government for greater reforms in the economy, especially in the energy sector.
Hawley said the two "agreed to pursue an active dialogue through technical teams in the period ahead."
The meeting followed President Viktor Yanukovych's replacement on January 18 of finance minister Fedir Yaroshenko, with Yanukovych unhappy about the austere budget Yaroshenko had presented and the country's bleak economic outlook.
The World Bank in December lowered its forecast for Ukraine's economic growth in 2012, slashing it from 5.0 percent to 2.5 percent and warning that Kiev should accelerate reforms.
Yaroshenko was replaced by former economy minister and security service chief Valery Khoroshkovsky.
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