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08/17/1998 16:39:22 Russia's Chubais thanks IMF for support

MOSCOW, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Russia's top debt negotiator Anatoly Chubais praised the International Monetary Fund on Monday for voicing its support for the government's new measures to stabilise the country's financial system. He said the Fund had been kept informed as the Russian government planned moves to widen the band in which the rouble floats, effectively devaluing the currency in response to intense pressure from financial markets. "It is important for us that we found understanding with the IMF," Chubais told reporters after what he described as a 40-hour marathon of talks with Fund officials. "During the last 40 hours I contacted IMF representatives five or 10 times," he said. "In fact I spent a pleasant night permanently talking to the IMF people on the phone." The government measures, agreed with President Boris Yeltsin on Sunday and made public on Monday, included government debt restructuring and restrictions on some foreign debt repayments. The IMF delegation, led by the head of the IMF's Second European Department which deals with the former Soviet Union, John Odling-Smee, arrived in Moscow on Sunday. IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus called in a statement on Monday for public and private solidarity with Russia as the changes take effect. He urged the government to press ahead with its anti-crisis programme so that the IMF can release in September the next tranche of an $11.2 billion credit package agreed last month. "International monetary organisations, naturally, were not enthusiastic about our proposal to restructure the state debt...but they showed understanding of the situation," RIA news agency quoted Chubais as saying after a meeting with an IMF delegation. But Chubais made clear the IMF, which has approved Russia's anti-crisis programme, was involved in discussions on the government's next steps. "We are discussing now with IMF technical people the scheme for restructuring GKO (Treasury Bills) which will be announced in two days," he told reporters. "We also enjoy the IMF's technical support in a number of financial analyses needed for making some decisions in the next few days," Chubais added. "The IMF people have started analysing the decisions made today."

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