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IMF Won't Substantiate "Arab Spring" Spending, Downplays Military Spending

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 9 -- While the International Monetary Fund bragged about committing $35 billion to the "Arab Spring," now it has been questioned by area finance ministry officials and, although the IMF dodged the question, by the Press how many much has been disbursed.

  Every two weeks the IMF holds a press briefing, for journalists in DC and online around the world. Spokesman Gerry Rice at the February 9 briefing purported to take online questions, one from a reporter usually there in person, and one each about Argentina and the Dominican Republic.

  But the IMF ignored, and did not answer by deadline, questions about its Arab Spring pledge, about Yemen and Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Romania. Nor did the IMF explain its logic. It took question after question about Greece, and one about Bosnia not having a 2011 budget. Nothing on Ireland, either.

  Inner City Press, as soon as the briefing began, asked three, four then five questions, including:

How much of the $35 billion "Arab Spring" pledge has the IMF disbursed, given this criticism?

What is the status of the IMF's work in & with Yemen after the visit of Hassan Al-Atrash?

What is the status of the IMF's work in & with Myanmar, and what impact will the US lifting Trafficking Victims Protection Act restrictions have on it?

On Sri Lanka, since IMF Brian Aitken has publicly claimed defense spending is down, what is IMF's response to statistics submitted [to IMF] that defense spending is up at least 30%, contrary to IMF?

Lagarde, with Gerry Rice pointing, answers not shown

 This question, Inner City Press submitted on February 6 as well, to Mr. Rice and others:

Hello - this is a Press request for the IMF's comment or response its claim that Sri Lanka's defense spending has decreased, when other say it has INCREASED 30%, despite IMF statements that

This, together with savings on military spending ... should help finance the considerable reconstruction spending needs.” And “Cuts in military and other expenditures will help make room for post-conflict reconstruction and relief spending."

For ease of reference, I refer to correspondence to Ms. Lagarde and from the IMF's Mr. Aitken (particularly the response to Mr. Aitken's January 4 letter and subsequent data table), and to the Sri Lanka questions I have submitted, without response, during the last two online media briefings.

And if / when you have something on the resignation of the prime minister in Romania.

  With no answer, either on Sri Lanka or even Romania, Inner City Press resubmitted on February 9, including

On Romania, any IMF response to parliament approving new cabinet and to keep budget deficit within 3% of GDP?

   There are directly in the IMF's wheelhouse, but even more under Christine Lagarde, the IMF does not want to take or answer the questions. So this IMF brags about Arab Spring spending but won't answer, misrepresents increased military spending it is now partially responsible for, and refuses to answer. Here is Mr. Aitken's letter, that the IMF has refused to explain or substantiate. Watch this site.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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