KUCHMA URGES IMF TO EXTEND LOAN TO UKRAINE... President Leonid Kuchma, who is in Salzburg attending the Central and Eastern European economic summit , met with a group of U.S. experts headed by Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs David Lipton, Interfax reported. Kuchma's press secretary told journalists that the president and U.S. experts discussed bilateral cooperation and Ukraine' contacts with international financial organizations. Kuchma stressed that Ukraine has met IMF requirements but has received no foreign aid in the first half of 1997. While he described certain economic decisions as "miscalculated," Kuchma noted that Ukraine has a "fair degree" of economic stability, pays its foreign debts on schedule, and keeps inflation "surprisingly low." Warning that economic reforms may trigger social tensions, Kuchma urged the IMF to honor its commitments to Ukraine by extending a loan worth up to $3 billion agreed on in late 1996 but delayed because of the slow pace of reform.
...BUT IMF DECIDES AGAINST LOAN. The IMF, however, says it will not be able to go ahead with that loan until more reforms are in place but that it will consider a regular one-year credit program, RFE/RL's Washington correspondent reported on 10 July. Sources at IMF headquarters in Washington said a delegation has just completed a review of Ukraine's situation. The fund has decided to give priority to a new one-year stand-by loan for Ukraine, and the IMF delegation will return to Kyiv within the next two weeks to work out details. IMF sources said the delegation is pleased with progress made this year, including low inflation and a stable exchange rate. However, they say more structural changes are needed before major loans can be approved.