Press Release: Statement by IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato at the ASEAN Leaders' Special Meeting in Jakarta

January 6, 2005

Mr. Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today at the high-level meeting on humanitarian relief for countries affected by the Asia tsunami disaster in Jakarta, Indonesia:

"I will be brief in joining other participants in expressing my deepest sympathy and condolences to the countries and people suffering from the devastating tragedy.

"I am here to reiterate the IMF's commitment to remain fully engaged in our area of expertise in the relief efforts to help affected countries.

"The ways in which we can help include providing advice and technical assistance in assessing the macroeconomic impact and budgetary and balance of payments needs. We stand ready to send IMF teams to help in this regard as soon as countries would find this useful. The Maldives has already requested such assistance and a team will arrive there shortly.

"Secondly, we can provide financial assistance, primarily through our emergency assistance facility, which could make available quickly sizeable funds without an IMF program. Sri Lanka has already requested assistance under this facility, and we hope to be able to provide this assistance on concessional terms. In addition, Sri Lanka has requested a deferral in its repayments to the IMF consistent with existing Fund policies. Together, these two forms of assistance could provide a total of US$250 million. Other countries are also eligible for emergency assistance, and we will be discussing this possibility with them in the period ahead.

"In closing, let me say that I am greatly encouraged by the spirit of unity shown by the international community and the generosity of the response to this unprecedented disaster."


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