IMF must await recognition of Venezuelan government: spokesman

Friday, February 08, 2019

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WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — It would be “premature” for the International Monetary Fund to consider any financial aid for Venezuela until there is a consensus on recognising a government in Caracas, an IMF spokesman said yesterday.

Amid the “devastating humanitarian and economic crisis” in Venezuela, embattled President Nicolás Maduro has been challenged by opposition leader Juan Guaidó who declared himself interim president and has been recognized by 40 governments, including the United States and European Union.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters that the “international community guides official recognition,” and that is “the first step in terms of the IMF position on Venezuela.”

But countries are still establishing their position on recognition, he told reporters.

“We're watching that closely. We will be guided by the membership once they feel and we feel there is an established views,” he said.

“Before any other action could be taken that step would need to be taken.”

IMF number two David Lipton said earlier this week that the hyperinflation, mass migration and economic contraction that have ravaged the South American oil producer would require broad and “generous external support” to recover from.

But Rice said “it would be premature to begin to talk about any specifics” on types of financial instruments until the political situation has been clarified.

He declined to explain what would be required for recognition. However, a government must formally request IMF aid before the fund will get involved.

The IMF in 2011 took a similar position concerning Libya, delaying engagement with the country pending the recognition of a new government after the ouster of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

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