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Peru Asks IMF to Close Its Office There

From Times Wire Services

The Peruvian government announced Thursday that it has asked the International Monetary Fund to close its office in Lima.

“I reaffirm that Peru has not held any negotiations with the IMF, that it has signed no agreement with that organization and that it has no intention of changing that policy,” the official news agency Andina quoted Prime Minister Luis Alva Castro as saying.

The IMF representative in Lima, Valmar de Moraes, who is currently in Washington, was given until April 12 to leave his office at the central bank.

“We don’t accept financial commissars of any kind,” Alva Castro said. “With the utmost cordiality, but also with the utmost firmness, we have told Mr. De Moraes that his mission in Peru has concluded.”

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On Monday, Lima Mayor Alfonso Barrantes, Marxist leader of the coalition that came in second in last year’s national elections, charged that President Alan Garcia appeared to be modifying his policy of refusing to negotiate with the IMF.

But Alva Castro, who also is economy and finance minister, cited the closure of the IMF’s office as proof that the government remains committed to its policy of not negotiating with the IMF.

Under an agreement signed in April, 1984, the previous government of former President Fernando Belaunde Terry accepted the establishment of an IMF office in Lima to review Peru’s fulfillment of its accord with the fund.

That agreement ends this month, and the Garcia government has said it will not enter into any new pact with the IMF to obtain its aid.

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The decision to close the IMF office comes less than two weeks before the April 14 deadline that the IMF has given Peru to make a payment on the $700-million debt that this country has with the fund.

Peru has yet to make a $72-million payment that originally was due Feb. 10. The IMF extended the deadline to April 14, and Garcia has said that Peru will make a symbolic payment toward the debt.

If Peru makes no payment to the IMF, it could be declared ineligible for future aid from the fund and its affiliate, the World Bank.

Peru has a foreign debt of almost $14 billion.

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Garcia said in February that the payment would be within his limit on debt servicing. When he took office in July, 1985, he announced a ceiling on debt payments equal to 10% of annual export earnings.


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