Iraq "not sure" on meeting IMF conditions-paper

ISTANBUL Sat Oct 3, 2009 4:23am EDT

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ISTANBUL Oct 3 (Reuters) - A senior advisor to Iraq's central bank said he was "not sure" that Iraq could meet IMF conditions for a $5.5 billion loan, Emerging Markets magazine reported on Saturday.

Iraq has said it is seeking a $5.5 billion IMF program over 18 months, which would be the largest IMF financing agreement with the new Iraq administration. There have been two previous IMF arrangements of less than $1 billion each.

Mudher Salim Kassim, senior advisor to the Iraqi central bank, said it would take a long time for any agreement to be reached with the IMF.

No IMF comment was immediately available.

"Iraq is still in transition," Kassim said.

"The security situation sometimes turns upside down, so it is difficult to decide these things," Kassim said.

The country relies on oil exports for more than 95 percent of state revenues and desperately needs funds to rebuild the country after years of sectarian conflict and insurgency triggered by the 2003 U.S. invasion.

The country is courting foreign investors and an IMF programme would also give some credibility to the government's economic policies. (Reporting by Selcuk Gokoluk; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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