Libya, IMF in informal talks, no aid requested yet

Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:09pm EDT

* Libya's oil production down more than 95 pct-IMF

* IMF ready to travel to Libya to assess situation

WASHINGTON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Libya's new rulers are in discussions with the International Monetary Fund but have not yet asked for financial aid, a top fund official said on Thursday.

The IMF is gearing up to go to Tripoli to assess the country's financial infrastructure after a six-month conflict forced Muammar Gaddafi's government out of power.

"At this stage, the conversations have been around the technical work that will be done," Masood Ahmed, the fund's Middle East and Central Asia director told reporters before weekend meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.

"They have not asked us for any financial assistance at this point," Ahmed said.

The IMF recently endorsed Libya's National Transitional Council and is eyeing ways to restore the country's payment and banking systems.

Libya's main source of revenue is derived from oil production, which the IMF said has dropped by more than 95 percent since protests broke out in February.

Ahmed said the drop in oil production has caused a "significant deterioration in the external accounts and in the fiscal accounts."

"We also understand... that bringing the oil production back to its original pre-conflict level will take some time," he said. "People say it is not something that will come back in the next 12 months." (Reporting by Rachelle Younglai, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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