* New deal may be around 100 mln euros, Kosovo official says
* Government does not need to draw funds
* Kosovo GDP expected to grow 4 pct this year
By Fatos Bytyci
PRISTINA, Jan 17 Kosovo has asked the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) for talks on a new
precautionary programme, but is unlikely to need to draw any
funds, the Fund's Kosovo mission chief said on Friday.
A previous 30-month stand-by deal - Kosovo's first since it
declared independence from Serbia in 2008 - came to an end last
month. It was worth 107 million euros ($146 million).
"We take the government request very seriously, we will give
it the utmost consideration and we are thinking of a formal
programme negotiating mission in March," Jacques Alain Miniane,
the newly appointed IMF chief mission for Kosovo, told a news
"The government has signalled the intention for the
programme to be precautionary. At this stage there are no
financing needs, no budgetary or external needs that the
government or the state cannot fund on its own," he said.
Miniane did not say how much the new deal could be worth but
a Kosovo official told Reuters it may be around 100 million
Six years after gaining independence, the land-locked
country of 1.7 million people remains one of the poorest in
Europe. New government data shows that more than 35 percent of
the population is unemployed.
Foreign investors are often put off by its reputation for
organised crime and corruption and simmering tensions between
the Albanian majority and the Serb minority.
The sale of the national state telecom company collapsed for
the second time last month, after disputes within the ruling
However, the government this week picked an international
bidder, U.S.-Turkish consortium Bechtel-Enka, to
build its second highway worth 600 million euros that will
connect it with neighbouring Macedonia.
Kosovo's economy grew 2.5 percent in 2013 and is expected to
grow four percent in 2014, based mainly on increased remittances
and foreign aid. Up to 800,000 Kosovars live and work in Western
European countries, mainly Germany and Switzerland.
($1 = 0.7352 euros)
(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and