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Cablegate: Latvia Seeks Imf and Eu Assistance, Possibly Swedish Aid

VZCZCXRO6286
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHRA #0714 3260524
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 210524Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5397
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS RIGA 000714

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN ETRD LG
SUBJECT: LATVIA SEEKS IMF AND EU ASSISTANCE, POSSIBLY SWEDISH AID

1. After the government's Cabinet meeting on November 20, Prime
Minister Godmanis announced that Finance Minister Slakteris has been
authorized to begin discussions with the IMF on a possible
assistance program for Latvia. Andris Vilks, Chief Economist for
SEB Bank, and an informal advisor to the PM, told us that a combined
team from the IMF, European Commission, European Central Bank,
Swedish Government and Swedish Central Bank was already in Riga for
talks. Contacts at the Bank of Latvia confirmed that the government
was currently meeting with the IMF, EC, and ECB, though they made no
mention of Swedish involvement.

2. At this time we do not have details on the assistance requests.
The Governor of the Bank of Latvia, Ilmars Rimsevics, has been
unavailable for comment as the Bank's Board of Governors meeting has
lasted long this afternoon. According to Uldis Rutkaste, Deputy
Head for External Relations at the Bank of Latvia, no decision has
been made on the size of the assistance requests, timing, or
possible changes to Latvia's exchange rate policy, and he predicted
that discussions would continue for at least a week. We will
actively monitor progress and report details as they become
available.


Larson

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