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ICP Asks IMF of Impact of War on Yemen on Saudi Economy, Callen Notes Military Overspending

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 17 – When the International Monetary Fund's Tim Calen took questions about Saudi Arabia's economy on January 17, Inner City Press asked him:

"What has been the impact of the Saudi-led Coalition's Yemen campaign on the Saudi economy, and what is the IMF's projection?"

  IMF Senior Communications Officer Wafa Amr read out the question, between oil-heavy Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, and Callen diplomatically said that the Saudi budget document published at the end of 2016 showed military over-spending. Tweeted video here.

  Callen said he doesn't have the information to link that to the military campaign against Yemen. But what else would it be?

 On January 12 with IMF spokesman Gerry Rice held a on- and off-line press briefing, the first one in more than a month, Inner City Press submitted questions about Yemen, Chad, Sri Lanka, Mozambique and structural adjustment, as well as asking for updates on South Sudan and Burundi.

 Now on January 13 there is this, on Yemen, to Inner City Press from an IMF spokesperson:

"The humanitarian and economic fallout from conflict is devastating; the conflict has weakened significantly economic activity, destroyed infrastructure, and constricted availability of basic goods and services. We continue to work with international partners and donors to help assure the availability of basic food and to facilitate resuming payment of civil servants as well as financial support to the poorest.  The IMF stands ready to re-engage as soon as the conflict is resolved to help restore macro stability, rebuild institutional capacity, and jump-start growth."

  It's said that UN enovy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed met with Yemen's Central Bank Governor... in Saudi Arabia.

   The IMF has, a day later, not yet answered questions on Chad or Mozambique. Inner City Press has asked:

In Mozambique it has been suggested that the government could simply not recognize the guarantees for the $2 billion “secret” debt that would be enough  to “reduce the total foreign debt enough to allow negotiation with the IMF.” What is the IMF's response?

“MF-led structural adjustment reforms increase protest risks in Chad” - what is the IMF's response?

In Sri Lanka,  weeks after the IMF indicated the country's foreign reserves were below comfortable levels the government now plans to try to raise $1.5 billion through a domestic bond sale. Does the IMF think this is a good move?

On IMF conditions reducing health care spending, the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine “found that for every additional IMF condition that is 'binding' - i.e. failure to implement means automatic loan suspension - government health expenditure per capita in the region is reduced by around 0.25%.” What is the IMF's response?

Well, what is it?  Rice on January 12 said the IMF's Cyprus resident representative is at the UN's Geneva talks, and previewed a presentation by David Lipton on "Africa," and a trip there by Christine Lagarde, including to the Central African Republic, locus of French impunity. Watch this site.


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