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At IMF, Lagarde Chides Doubt of Tahrir Square, Takes No Sudan Question

By Matthew Russell Lee

IMF, April 19 -- When Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund took press questions on Thursday morning, at least two were about her fashion and health, then two on Egypt.

  On the second, Lagarde declined to get into the details of the negotiations with Egypt's military government, but said that second guessing by unnamed other stakeholders -- can you say "Tahrir Square" and "Arab Spring"? -- made things more difficult.

  Ms. Lagarde said, "If we hear solid partners on the ground say, aah, I am not too sure about this program, not too sure about the IMF, not too sure about borrowing, it is a bit of an issue."

  Lagarde made a point of mentioning in her opening statement an IMF poverty reduction trust. But no question was taken, for example, on the two Sudans, even after Lagarde had the day previous welcomed South Sudan as the 188th member of the Fund.

One wanted and still wants to ask: what is the IMF's view of the oil transfer fee dispute between the two Sudans, in which IMF studies are often cited? What is the "help with the IMF" that South Sudan's UN Ambassador Agnes Oswaha told Inner City Press her country offered to Khartoum before the re-outbreak of war?

Microphones were squawking and cell phones going off; the auditorium was standing room only and the first two questions selected by spokesman Gerry Rice were from Japan and China's Xinhua, respectively on contributions and fashion, specifically a feathered Chinese jacket at the cleaners.

The usual biweekly academic crew was either not in the house, or not called on. "There will be further opportunities for interaction," Gerry Rice promised. We'll see -- watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

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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