Pakistan reaches ‘agreement in principle’ with IMF over bailout package: Revenue Minister

Pakistan has reached an “agreement in principle” with IMF over bailout package, the country’s state minister for revenue Hammad Azhar said. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 15 April 2019
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Pakistan reaches ‘agreement in principle’ with IMF over bailout package: Revenue Minister

  • Pakista last year expected to sign up for 13th IMF bailout program since late 1980s
  • Pakistani officials say conditions attached to proposed IMF loans could hurt economic growth

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reached an “agreement in principle” with IMF over bailout package, the country’s state minister for revenue said on Monday after the lending body announced arrival of its staff mission in Islamabad later this month.
A mission team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will travel to Pakistan this month, the IMF said in a statement.
Hammad Azhar, the minister, said the staff mission’s visit was just aimed at finalizing technical details.
“An agreement in principle has been reached with IMF,” he announced in a tweet, hours after Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar returned home from Washington where he had meetings with the IMF and World Bank.
Pakistan was last year expected to sign up for its 13th IMF bailout program since the late 1980s but talks ground to a halt, with Pakistani officials saying the conditions attached to the proposed IMF loans could hurt economic growth. (Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Toby Chopra)


Japan drops ‘maximum pressure’ on North Korea from diplomatic book

Updated 23 min 43 sec ago
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Japan drops ‘maximum pressure’ on North Korea from diplomatic book

  • Language was dropped after consideration of latest developments surrounding North Korea
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seen as a foreign policy hawk, has also softened his rhetoric toward North Korea

TOKYO: Japan on Tuesday dropped the push to apply “maximum pressure” on North Korea from its official foreign policy, an apparent softening of Tokyo’s position as major powers engage with Pyongyang.
In last year’s “Diplomatic Bluebook,” published when tensions on the Korean peninsula were soaring, Japan said it was coordinating efforts with its allies to “maximize pressure on North Korea by all available means.”
But this language was dropped from this year’s edition, drawn up after diplomats had “taken comprehensively into account the latest developments surrounding North Korea,” according to chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.
“There have been major developments in the situation surrounding North Korea in light of events such as the US-North Korea summits in June last year and February,” Suga told reporters.
Abe, seen as a foreign policy hawk, has also softened his rhetoric toward North Korea, frequently offering to meet leader Kim Jong Un to negotiate the decades-old issue of Japanese civilians kidnapped by the North.
“Japan seeks to normalize its relations with North Korea by comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern such as the abductions, nuclear and missile issues as well as settling an unfortunate past,” Suga said.
Tokyo has been one of the most hawkish of the major powers on North Korea and has been on the receiving end of some of Pyongyang’s harshest rhetoric — as well as missiles launched over its territory.
Until late 2017, North Korea repeatedly tested missiles that flew toward or over Japan, sparking warnings blared out on loudspeakers and stoking calls for a tough stance against Pyongyang.
However, Japan now finds itself battling to keep itself relevant in the fast-moving North Korea issue as Kim expands his diplomatic circle.
Kim is now preparing for talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, after multiple meetings with US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.
Abe will soon meet Trump at the White House where the issue of North Korea is bound to be on the table.