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Argentine leader say new IMF deal must not jeopardize economic recovery

·1 min read

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Argentina will repay the money it owes to the International Monetary Fund under new terms to be negotiated in upcoming talks, but will not agree to terms that jeopardize its economic recovery, President Alberto Fernandez said on Tuesday.

The government, faced with a recession exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is about to negotiate new terms for repaying about $44 billion it owes to the fund from a 2018 deal agreed under previous President Mauricio Macri.

Macri signed a $57 billion standby lending agreement with the fund in a failed bid to stabilize the peso currency. Fernandez called that deal unsustainable after being elected last year and vowed to negotiate new repayment terms.

Addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations via video, the center-left Peronist leader said "the negotiations with the IMF will be approached in a responsible manner, being respectful of the commitments made."

Any agreement with the IMF should avoid "putting at risk the conditions that allow economic reactivation and the construction of an inclusive and sustainable development path."

Argentina's economy contracted a record 19.1% in the second quarter versus the same period a year earlier.

(Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Eliana Raszewski, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Sam Holmes)