IMF on Zim,
Backtracks on Greece, Rebuffs Questions About Pakistan, Gbagbo, Lanka
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 18, updated
-- The IMF board will vote tomorrow on
Zimbabwe's request to regain voting rights, the IMF's David Hawley
said at the organization's biweekly media briefing on February 18.
any online questions, Hawley fielded repeated questions about Greece,
essentially backing away from Dominique
blustered about the IMF being ready to intervene. Pundits says the
Europeans want to keep the IMF out -- Germany because it wants to
retain the centrality of a European process it is about to head,
France's Sarkozy because he does not want Strauss-Kahn to become any
more prominent before the 2012 elections.
Strauss-Kahn's IMF preaches to developing and troubled countries, it
cannot comply with its commitment to conduct an online media briefing
every two weeks. On February 18, the IMF's David Hawley presided over
an ill-attended session in the organization's new briefing room.
colleague Caroline Atkinson had inaugurated the room by saying it
should make online participation easier and more seamless. But on
February 18, despite online questions being submitted by Inner City
Press and surely others, Mr. Hawley did not acknowledge or answer a
single online question. Nor in the twenty minutes between the briefing
the expiration of the IMF's embargo did the IMF answer a request for
an explanation of the freeze-out.
were the three
questions Inner City Press submitted:
On Pakistan, does
the IMF's recent
announcement mean that the bank supervision and power tariff goals
have been met?
d'Ivoire, how does the
IMF view the suspension of the government and further delay of
elections by Laurent Gbagbo?
an IMF team
in Sri Lanka, what is the IMF's thinking on the EU's
suspension of the GSP Plus tariff treatment, and/or the arrest of
opposition politician Sarath Fonseka?
IMF's Strauss-Kahn, online questions rebuffed, coy on campaign
other matters, Hawley said he would not speculate or comment about the
Central Banks. Fine -- but why can't the IMF, despite the spending on
its new briefing room, manage to acknowledge and answer online
questions about its operations? Watch this site.
Footnote: While the
IMF took some online questions on February 4, after Ms. Atkinson said
the IMF would provide an answer about Yemen, none has been provided in
the fortnight since...
after publication at embargo time of the report above, the IMF
indirectly justified its refusal to even acknowledge the three online
Re: Three online questions ignored at 930 "online"
briefing, please explain and answer, thanks
Date: Thu, Feb 18, 2010
To: Inner City Press,
"Atkinson, Caroline, Hawley, David
have asked the press officers to review your questions and get back
to you where possible. Most of the questions contained stuff that
fell far afield of the IMF's role or mandate. So where we can answer
we will, but a big chunk of your questions could be better answered
by institutions not focused on financial and macroeconomic issues.
no. As linked to in the questions above, the IMF
has a team in Sri Lanka, has opined on power
tariffs and bank
supervision in Pakistan -- in fact, Inner City Press got answers on
those questions on a previous IMF conference call -- and is
attempt to portray itself as divorced from politics, conditionality,
and governance is ham-handed and illegitimate. It is not for the IMF to
decide which questions to
acknowledge or not. Or, who in the IMF makes these decisions, and on
what basis? Watch this site.
Update -- after the
IMF's embargo expired, and after the above was published, responses
came in to two of the three above questions, which the IMF had tried to
argue somehow where not relevant:
Lee: The following statement can be
attributed to Adnan Mazarei, mission chief for Pakistan:
strengthen the effectiveness of banking supervision in Pakistan are
proceeding as envisaged. The parliament is discussing amendments to
the banking law. The lower house has approved the amendments and they
are being discussed by the upper house. Electricity reform is also
proceeding, but somewhat slower than planned earlier due to delays in
implementing certain tariff adjustments.
Olga Stankova, Sr. Press Officer
Further to your question on Côte d’Ivoire, I’m afraid it’s
still too early to say. You can attribute the following to me if it’s
“The IMF, through its
representative, continues to monitor the situation in Côte
too early to assess any impact on the authorities’ IMF-supported
Officer - External Relations Department
Apparently the question about Sri Lanka, where the IMF current has a
team on the ground, was deemed even less IMF relevant that this. Watch
* * *
Strauss-Kahn Coy on Opposing Sarkozy and Intervening in Greece, IMF and
Greek Denials, Yemen Deferrals
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 4, updated
-- The managing director of the International
Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn bragged Thursday to radio
station RTL in his native France that he might leave the IMF early --
and perhaps challenge Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidency --
and that if
asked by Greece, the IMF could "intervene" in
both comments were dodged later on Thursday by the spokesperson for
Strauss-Kahn and the IMF, Caroline Atkinson. Strauss-Kahn is quoted
that "As it stands... I am planning to see out my mandate.
But if you ask me whether in certain circumstances I could reconsider
this question, the answer is yes, I could reconsider this question."
consciously leaving open the door to reconsider and leave.
But Ms. Aktinson emphasized only his "planning to see out my
mandate" and called everything else "hypothetical."
Greece, Strauss-Kahn said
regally, "I have a mission on the ground to
provide technical advice requested by the Greek government. And if
we're asked to intervene, we will." He added, "I understand
that the Europeans don't want this for the moment."
on Thursday morning asked Dimitris Droutsas, Alternate Foreign
Minister of Greece, to describe his government's thinking about IMF
help. Mr. Droutsas responded on the record, "Categorically may
I state, any idea of the IMF... there is no idea about that."
Thursday's IMF biweekly briefing, Ms. Aktinson emphasized the "the
IMF" -- not just Strauss-Kahn -- "had a technical team in
Athens because the Greeks are very interested in getting any help
from us on the technical implementation of the plan."
Later on February 4 Droutsas told Inner
City Press, on camera, that he was unaware of any IMF team having been
in Athens. Video here,
last question. One wag wondered, has the IMF become like the CIA, or Xe
/ Blackwater, whose presence is alleged and denied?
IMF under Strauss-Kahn brags
about being present. As with
the wider UN, the rush to be relevant.
ready to "intervene" in Greece, could leave IMF - "hypothetically"
then, that when Inner City Press asked Ms. Aktinson about Yemen --
using as the lead in a quote by UK Foreign Secretary (Ivan Lewis)
that "we address the economic problems that face Yemen,
especially through the IMF program" -- Ms. Atkinson said she
didn't have information about Yemen and would have to respond later
to Inner City Press. But as February
4 hit midnight, no information was provided. Yemen is in the
news, and one would expect the
omnipresent Strauss-Kahn to be all over it. We'll see.
a pro-IMF spin in responding to Inner City Press' question about the
IMF's new loan to Haiti, but we'll be writing about that later, along
with the IMF's Yemen response. Watch this site.