March 26, 2009 / 7:04 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ukraine PM vows no foreign debt default

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TOKYO, March 26 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko vowed on Thursday that Ukraine would meet its foreign debt obligations to the letter, dismissing any suggestion that it may fail to meet payments.

“Let me do away with this notion once and for all. Ukraine is nowhere near being in a position of default,” Tymoshenko told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Japan.

“We are implementing our budget and meeting all our debt obligations, even those that are being called in ahead of term. I do not see even the slightest threat that this might occur.”

President Viktor Yushchenko, Tymoshenko’s former ally from the “Orange Revolution” turned arch rival, issued a similar assurance a day earlier.

Tymoshenko blamed any suggestion of default on “irresponsible Ukrainian opposition politicians who are trying to engage in some profiteering in times of economic crisis and find a cheap way of boosting their political standing.”

“In no way do I see any such threat to Ukraine,” she said.

The former Soviet state has been hit hard by the global crisis, with shrinking world markets for its key steel and chemical exports.

Tymoshenko said she believed the International Monetary Fund would soon release the second tranche of a $16.4 billion credit it approved last year.

Talks with other countries on further credits could then proceed, Tymoshenko said. Ukraine has sought a $5 billion credit from Russia and also asked European Union states for credits.

Payment of the tranche, estimated at $1.84 billion, has been suspended amid differences on implementing a programme to counter the effects of the financial crisis. Parliament next week is to consider further anti-crisis legislation worked out with the IMF. (Reporting by Ron Popeski; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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