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IMF announces immediate disbursement of $1.1 billion to Pakistan

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IMF announces immediate disbursement of $1.1 billion to Pakistan

IMF announces immediate disbursement of $1.1 billion to Pakistan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced an immediate disbursement of a 1.1 billion Dollars loan to Pakistan to help stabilise the crumbling economy of the South Asian country.

The decision came late on Monday after the IMF Executive Board completed the second review under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) to complete a total loan of three billion dollars agreed under a deal in 2023.

However, the global lender underlined the need for concerted efforts for sustainable recovery.

The bank said in a statement that “to move Pakistan from stabilisation to a strong and sustainable recovery, authorities need to continue the policy and reform efforts, including strict adherence to fiscal targets while protecting the vulnerable.

“Also a market-determined exchange rate to absorb external shocks; and broadening of structural reforms to support stronger and more inclusive growth.”

Pakistan’s economy was pulled back from the brink amid fears of default when the IMF approved a short-term three-billion-dollar bailout package.

Signed in July last year, Pakistan has already received 1.9 billion dollars under the programme.

Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif’s team laid the groundwork for yet another long-term bailout as the new government seeks to stabilise the economy.

Sharif’s government says it inherited the economic crisis from the previous government of Imran Khan, whose policies pushed the country to the brink.

The government is struggling to tackle soaring inflation, heavy debt burden, unemployment and high electricity and gas prices.

(dpa/NAN)

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Biden condemns Russia’s 16-year sentence for U.S. reporter

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President Joe Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden has sharply criticised the 16-year sentence for U.S reporter Evan Gershkovich, imposed on Friday by a Russian court.

According to the president, Gershkovich was targeted by Russia “because he is a journalist and an American.”

Biden, in a statement released by the White House, said the reporter had “committed no crime.”

He added that the U.S. government will continue to fight for the Wall Street Journal reporter’s release as well as for all U.S. citizens unlawfully detained abroad.

“Journalism is not a crime,” Biden said, adding that both he and the United Nations have said that Russia is wrongfully detaining the reporter.

“We will continue to stand strong for press freedom in Russia and worldwide, and stand against all those who seek to attack the press or target journalists,” the U.S. president added.

(dpa/NAN)

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Philippines’ Vice President Sara Duterte resigns from Cabinet

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Philippine Vice President Sara Duterte on Wednesday tendered her resignation as secretary of the Department of Education, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil said.

In a statement, Garafil said Duterte tendered her resignation as a member of the Cabinet during a visit to the presidential palace on Wednesday afternoon.

“She declined to give a reason. She will continue to serve as vice president.

“We thank her for her service,’’ Garafil said.

Garafil told reporters that Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos has accepted Duterte’s resignation.

(Xinhua/NAN)

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Putin demands Ukrainian troop withdrawal in exchange for peace

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the territories annexed by his country is a prerequisite for any settlement of the ongoing war.

Putin said this during a visit to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow ahead of the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland at the weekend.

If Ukraine also renounces membership of NATO, Russia would be prepared to cease fire and enter negotiations immediately.

His speech was clearly aimed at the current G7 summit in Italy and the Ukraine event opening on Saturday in the Swiss mountain hotel resort of Bürgenstock.

The affiliation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson to Russia is no longer in question, Putin said.

Ukraine should withdraw its army from the parts of these regions that it still controls, he added.

The Kremlin leader said he was stating Russia’s minimum demands in order not to freeze the conflict but to resolve it once and for all.

At the same time, Putin repeated the demands he made when he ordered the invasion of the neighbouring country in February 2022: The creation of a neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free Ukraine.

The country should also be disarmed and “denazified,” said Putin, using a term widely interpreted in the West as meaning the instalment of a Russia-approved leadership in Kiev.

Russia currently occupies around a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, including the Crimean peninsula, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

Ukraine has so far adhered to its stated goal of retaking the occupied territory, including Crimea.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is also calling for the prosecution of Russian war crimes and Russian reparations for the destruction caused. (dpa/NAN)

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