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On Yemen, IMF Welcomes GCC Immunity Deal, Ready to Support

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 1 -- On Yemen, the International Monetary Fund kept meeting with Ali Saleh officials even as his government killed protesters. On December 1, Inner City Press asked the IMF, "with Ali Saleh's signature of the deal, what is the IMF's thinking and plans for the country? Whom in Yemen has the IMF spoken with and when?"

  Later on December 1 the IMF sent this response:

"on your question on Yemen, the IMF welcomes the signing of the agreement, which we hope will bring the crisis to an end. The agreement involves a formation of a new government that we look forward to working with. We understand that the new government will put in place an economic stabilization plan as per the GCC agreement, and we stand ready to support such a plan with an IMF-supported program if the new government wishes to reengage with the IMF."

  Back on March 31, Inner City Press asked then-IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson (now with the Obama administration)

On Yemen, please describe IMF's engagement with current gov't after Ghazi Shbeikat's talks earlier this month, and any impact its killing of protesters has had.”

Ms. Atkinson translated this to “I have a question online about Yemen: Please describe the IMF’s engagement with the current government after talks earlier this month and any impact the violence has had.”

The violence -- that is, the killing of protesters -- has been so bad even Yemen's Permanent Representative to the UN Abduallah Alsaidi, former head of the Group of 77 and China, has quit. Here was Ms. Atkinson's (first) answer:

Of course, in Yemen, Syria, and other cases we deplore any violence and we hope for peaceful resolution of political issues–We have a program actually outstanding with Yemen and there have been contacts at a technical level with the central bank monitoring developments.

  Then on April 28, Inner City Press asked the IMF's David Hawley to “describe the IMF's interface with Syria and Yemen, and how the crackdowns there may impact that, and how they are viewed by the IMF.”

(c) UN Photo
IMF's Lagarde and Ban Ki-moon, business as usual in Sana'a?

Hawley said that the IMF's program with Yemen are “on hold in the current situation,” and then referred to comments by IMF Middle East and Central Asia director Masood Ahmed -- who is the one who said, the previous day in Dubai, that the IMF is “ready to work with the Yemeni authorities... once the situation allows.”

  Did that mean a reduction in violence -- which could be brought about, at least theoretically, by MORE repression rather than less -- or the exit of Saleh? The IMF didn't say.

  And now, after what's called the immunity deal, the IMF stands ready. We'll continue on this - watch this site.

 Footnote: The IMF had not had a press briefing for four weeks, but still on the morning of December 1 its web page did not list any press briefing. Too late, despite monitoring the web page, Inner City Press found out about a briefing, submitted the question about and a request for "an explanation of the lack of IMF web page notice of this morning's briefing."

There was at least a response to the Yemen question, above. But nothing on the other. 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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