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Iceland moves closer to securing disputed IMF loan
Iceland and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) say they have reached an agreement on the conditions needed for the payment of a 159-million-dollar loan, which had been delayed amid a dispute involving IMF members Britain and the Netherlands.
AFP - The International Monetary Fund said Friday it had reached an agreement with Iceland on the conditions needed for a 159-million-dollar loan payment, which must be approved by the executive board.
"Agreement has been reached on a letter of intent for the second review under Iceland's Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF," Mark Flanagan, the IMF mission chief to Iceland, said in a statement.
The executive board was "tentatively" set to discuss the review on April 16, he said.
Upon completion of the review, Iceland would become eligible to draw the controversial third installment of a 2.2-billion-dollar IMF loan authorized in November 2008.
Only half of the loan has been disbursed so far, in two installments, with the last one made in October.
The much-delayed third disbursement has been embroiled in a conflict with IMF members Britain and the Netherlands.
The IMF board, where Britain and the Netherlands have a vote, had refused to place the payment of fresh installments of the loan on its agenda in a dispute over compensation for the collapse of the online Icelandic bank Icesave.
In an early March referendum, voters in Iceland overwhelmingly rejected an arrangement under which the government would pay Britain and the Netherlands 3.9 billion euros (5.3 billion dollars) to compensate British and Dutch savers who lost money in the collapse of Icesave in October 2008.
Iceland officials have warned that if the loan continues to be blocked, Iceland's recession could deepen this year.