(Corrects to clarify Egypt talks to follow technical work,
WASHINGTON Jan 18 The International Monetary
Fund has started negotiations with Tunisia on a loan program,
while Egypt has expressed readiness to move forward on its
funding talks, a senior IMF official said on Friday.
Masood Ahmed, IMF director for the Middle East and North
Africa, told reporters he hoped to report progress in the talks
with Tunisia by early February. Tunisia said late last year it
was seeking a $2.5 billion loan from the IMF, but Ahmed said the
talks were currently establishing the amount.
Meanwhile, he said Egypt was eager to move forward with its
IMF loan deal, but only after the Egyptian authorities update
budget measures to deal with the country's financial challenges.
Ahmed said before it signed off on an agreement, the IMF
needed to be satisfied that Egypt would be able to implement the
program and meet its conditions.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Jackie Frank)