UPDATE 1-G7 finance ministers say ready to aid Ukraine

Sun Mar 2, 2014 9:44pm EST

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - Finance ministers from the Group of Seven rich nations on Sunday pledged to throw a financial lifeline to Ukraine as long as the new government in Kiev agreed to pursue economic reforms sought by the International Monetary Fund.

"We are united in our commitment to provide strong financial backing to Ukraine," the G7 ministers said in a joint statement. "The transition to a new government in Ukraine offers a unique opportunity to put in place urgently needed market-oriented reforms."

The G7 said the IMF, which is sending a team to Kiev this week, needed to be in the forefront of efforts to help Ukraine with both policy advice and financing to help it through its most-pressing economic challenges.

"IMF support will be critical in unlocking additional assistance from the World Bank, other international financial institutions, the EU, and bilateral sources," the ministers said.

"We are also committed to mobilize rapid technical assistance to support Ukraine in addressing its macroeconomic, regulatory, and anti-corruption challenges," it added.

The G7 comprises the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy and Britain.

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