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November 1, 2001
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US aid not enough: Pakistan

Pakistan says the economic aid to the country promised by the United States - $673 million bilaterally immediately and billions of dollars eventually, including from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, is not enough.

Despite the lifting of US sanctions and the announcement this week of economic aid, Pakistan stands to lose $1.5 billion this year as American and Japanese importers cancelled contracts for textiles because of the ongoing war in neighbouring Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said in Islamabad.

"As a result of the crisis in the neighbourhood, exports are affected," he told The Washington Times in a telephone interview.

Sattar urged the Congress to quickly approve a state department request for dropping US quotas and duties on Pakistani textile exports.

He said US had agreed to support a $2 billion IMF loan package, adding that Pakistan would seek further aid from the Paris Club of donor nations, which will be asked to ease the terms on payment of its $38 billion foreign debt.

A large debt relief package to Pakistan being worked out would cut interest rates on its debt to one per cent or less and spread payments over many years, a Pakistani-American source told the paper.

US President George W Bush, the paper said, is expected to announce the package when he meets his Pakistani counterpart Gen Pervez Musharraf in New York on November 10.

Sattar said Pakistan's economy had suffered from corruption and fiscal mismanagement under civilian governments 'for the last several years until 1999' when Musharraf seized power in a military coup.

PTI

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