By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 28, updated — On the day Yemen talks were supposed to resume in Geneva, but were canceled by the UN, Inner City Pro asked the International Monetary Fund for the status of its program.
IMF spokesperson William Murray read out the question — “on Yemen, given the cancellation or postponement of the talks that had been scheduled to begin today (May 28) in Geneva, what is the status of the IMF’s program and any review of it?” — then read out a response:
“I’ve got 2 separate questions from Matthew Lee, of Inner City Press. Matthew’s question on Yemen, given the cancellation of talks, what’s the status of the IMF’s program?
A: In the context of Yemen and the IMF, the sit is still under review and being closely monitored. We don’t have a time line yet established for any active resumption of discussions over completion of the review of the existing Yemen program. The program is still in place but we’re monitoring developments in Yemen. Come back to us as time goes on. “
But in place with whom? Hadi in exile? The Houthis?
Likewise on Burundi, Inner City Pro asked Murray about the status of the IMF’s “pre-election” program, now that the legislative elections have been briefly delayed, and questions loom over the presidential elections (the UN Security Council “penholder,” France, told Inner City Press on May 27 that the conditions for elections are not met).
Murray, citing the “current security situation,” said
“Well, another situation under review, but let me give you our current view on Burundi. Of course the background is well known, current developments. We are following those developments closely, regarding the extended credit facility, that’s the facility that has been in place for some time. The program was recently approved and it’s fair to say that given current security, and political issues, the timing of our next discussion with the authorities is yet to be determined. We shall continue to monitor the situation in Burundi and if possible, will determine that at a later stage, when to set the time for a second review of the credit facility.”
On Nepal, on which Inner City Pro asked the IMF again about any debt relief or use of new facilities, Murray said:
“Just to give you a quick status report on Nepal, we had a mission on the ground, they’ve done an initial assessment. It’s not final yet. They will be going back to Kathmandu to complete some analytics because there was another very very severe earthquake. There is a plan for a donors meeting in late June, June 25 I believe, a lot of that analysis which we’re also doing on the macro economic front with the World Bank and other multilateral institutions, that will all feed into the June 25 donors conference, at which point I would expect a very active strategy for Nepal to surface. Right off the top, we have a rapid credit facility that Nepal could certainly have access to, which is one option. In terms of debt relief, that is pending further analysis. As you know we’ve had some reforms in our credit facilities that have certain conditions attached to how a country can qualify for debt relief. It’s unclear at this juncture whether Nepal does or not, but certainly it’s under review.”
We’ll have more on this.