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IMF Says Consults Broadly in Egypt, Focus on Democracy Doubted, Mali Silence

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 -- After Egyptian Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Said bragged that the International Monetary Fund does "not object to the government's economic program," Inner City Press on Thursday again asked IMF spokesperson David Hawley for the IMF's "response to criticism that it is negotiating with an unelected military government in a way that the parliament opposes."

  David Hawley replied, "In response to Matthew Lee's questions, I'd note that the purpose of the mission that's just wrapped up in Cairo is to consult broadly with stakeholders in Egypt to ensure that should there be a program that it enjoys broad political and social support, thank you very much."

  While the IMF's regional director Masoud Ahmed held a number of meetings in Cairo, the concerns still exist.

  Also on democracy, Inner City Press submitted this question: "On Mali, please describe the IMF's recent work there, the country's level of debt, and what the IMF knows and thinks about the reported coup or mutiny."

  In front of the UN Security Council, from where Inner City Press submitted its four questions to the IMF, it also asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about Mali: is it a mutiny or a coup? She said, "looks like a coup." The Security Council is slated to meet about Mali at 4:30 pm.

  But the IMF did not answer or even acknowledge the question, despite this sample statement on its website:

A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Bamako from September 5 to 16, 2011 to conduct discussions on the seventh review of the arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), which will expire at end-2011, and on the preparation of a new three-year program eligible for IMF support. The team met with Mariam Kaïdama Cissé, Prime Minister; Lassine Bouaré, Minister of Economy and Finance; Sambou Wagué, Minister of Budget; Oumar Ly, National Director, Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO); and representatives from the National Assembly, civil society, unions, and the private sector.

Christian Josz, IMF Mission Chief for Mali, issued the following statement:

'The economic program of the government of Mali supported by the IMF remains on track'

   We aim to have more on this. Inner City Press also submitted questions on South Sudan and Sri Lanka which have yet to be answered.

  At Thursday's briefing, Hawley said on Myanmar that "the Article IV was held beginning of this year and is going to the Board. The authorities have agreed to publication, I believe for the first time, of the Article IV and that will take place in the weeks ago." That, he said, will allow a discussion of the managed float of currency. 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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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