US urges Pakistan to ‘continue’ with reform agenda


ISLAMABAD: The State Department said the United States wanted to see Pakistan “continue down the path of reform,” while answering a question about Islamabad’s request to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to relax its conditions.

Ned Price, a spokesperson of the State Department, said it was ultimately up to the IMF to decide whether to soften its stance on Pakistan’s bailout programme, which was discussed at a donors’ conference in Geneva a day earlier.

The spokesperson added the US will continue to be a partner to Pakistan on all of its priorities, including security, economics and humanitarian issues.

Price also announced that the US will provide an additional $100 million in funding for flood protection, clean energy, agriculture and infrastructure reconstruction in Pakistan, bringing the total contribution to over $200 million.

“I am pleased to share that today the United States announced an additional $100 million of recovery and reconstruction funding, bringing our total contribution to over $200 million,” he told the daily press briefing.

The funding, the spokesperson added, will be used for flood protection and governance, disease surveillance, economic growth and clean energy, climate-smart agriculture, food security, and infrastructure reconstruction.

“The funding also includes humanitarian assistance to support flood relief and recovery efforts in refugee-hosting areas,” he said.

“Our flood-related assistance complements our broader efforts to form a US-Pakistan Green Alliance that looks at the range of climate and resilience issues central to Pakistan’s reconstruction. Pakistan’s recovery and reconstruction will be a continuing process in the months and years ahead, and we will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to build a more climate-resilient future for its people.”

International donors on Monday committed over $9 billion to help Pakistan recover from ruinous floods last year, exceeding its external financing goals and paving the way for a new model of raising funds to fight climate disasters in poorer countries.

Officials from some 40 countries as well as private donors and international financial institutions gathered at a meeting in Geneva as Islamabad sought funds to cover around half of a recovery bill amounting to $16.3 billion.

The meeting’s co-hosts, the United Nations and Pakistan’s government, said more than $9 billion had been pledged from bilateral and multilateral partners.

Among the donors were the Islamic Development Bank ($4.2 billion), the World Bank ($2 billion), Saudi Arabia ($1 billion), as well as the European Union and China, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said. France and the United States also made contributions.__Pakistan Today