Washington, Jan 19 (PTI): The United States wants to see Pakistan in an economically sustainable position, an official spokesperson said, amid reports that the South Asian country’s foreign exchange reserves are fast running out.
According to reports, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserve dropped to USD 4.3 billion last week, which is said to be enough for three weeks of imports.
The forex reserves have dwindled despite efforts by the government to shore up its economy.
“This (Pakistan’s financial crisis) is a challenge that we are attuned to. I know that Pakistan has been working with the IMF, with international financial institutions. We want to see Pakistan in an economically sustainable position,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at his daily news conference on Wednesday.
“Those conversations, as I understand it, are ongoing. We are supportive where we can be of our Pakistani partners, but ultimately these are conversations between Pakistan and international financial institutions,” he said.
On January 6, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva to break the deadlock over the release of the next tranche of assistance for the cash-strapped country.
The global lender has refused to issue the new instalment of the already agreed loan since Pakistan was not living up to the promises it made when the stalled loan of USD 6 billion was restored last year.
Prime Minister Sharif also sought relaxation in the demand to increase electricity prices to compensate for the deviation of around Rs 500 billion from the annual circular debt management plan.
These remain the major stumbling blocks in reaching an initial understanding of a staff-level visit by the IMF to Pakistan.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has expressed hope of receiving a second USD 3 billion bailout from Saudi Arabia. PTI LKJ DIV DIV
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