US envoy 'reassures' to help Pakistan unlock IMF deal amid closer cooperation

Ashraf Malkham
US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome (left) meets Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad, on April 6, 2023. — Finance ministry
US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome (left) meets Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad, on April 6, 2023. — Finance ministry

  • Finance Minister Ishaq Dar meets US envoy Donald Blome.
  • Blome expresses confidence in policies of the government.
  • The meeting comes as Pakistan's economic woes worsen.

ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome Thursday assured Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that Washington would continue to help Islamabad unlock a long-stalemated International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout to steer the liquidity-challenged country's reeling economy out of imminent default, sources said Thursday.

The development came during a meeting of the finance minister with the ambassador in the federal capital, where the envoy was informed about the progress on the Washington-based lender's programme, sources told Geo News.

FinMin Dar requested the US ambassador to play his role in unlocking the bailout programme as he informed him about a $2 billion commitment from Saudi Arabia, sources said, adding that the envoy was told that talks were underway with the United Arab Emirates about the financing of $1 billion.

"We need more resources and financing," the minister told the ambassador, in response to which Blome assured cooperation from the United States.

An official statement from the Ministry of Finance noted that Dar briefed the envoy about the economic outlook of the country and the challenges that the nation faces.

"He further shared the pragmatic policy decisions being taken by the government in order to arrest the economic decline and to steer the economy towards a positive trajectory leading to economic stability and growth."

The statement mentioned that Blome expressed confidence in the policies and programmes of the government being taken for the economic sustainability of the country and the socio-economic uplift of the masses. He extended his support to further promote bilateral economic, investment and trade relations between both countries.

The two sides also exchanged views on matters of common interest and showed their interest in enhancing the existing bilateral relations between both countries. They also talked about various economic avenues in which both countries can further strengthen their ties.

The meeting with Blome came days after FinMin Dar met UAE's ambassador to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salim Al-Zaabi, where they discussed economic relations.

The IMF has asked Pakistan to secure assurances on external financing from friendly countries and multilateral partners to fund its balance of payment gap for this fiscal year, which ends in June.

Islamabad has been hosting an IMF mission since early February to negotiate a series of policy measures to secure $1.1 billion in funding for the cash-strapped economy, which is on the verge of collapse.

The funds are part of a $6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019, which analysts say is critical for Pakistan to avert defaulting on external payment obligations.