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Interview with John Odling-Smee, director of the European
Department II of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Question: Which is the main conclusions of the conference regarding
the seven poorest countries in the CIS (CIS-7) in Lucerne,
Switzerland, on January 20-22?

Answer: I think the discussion was very valuable, speaking for
the IMF, and I think also for the other international
institutions, because it gave us a few ideas. But it also confirmed
that the general directions of the policy advice we have been giving
to Moldova and other CIS-7 countries was correct. I think from
the point of view of the CIS countries themselves, it has been a
very useful experience to hear the arguments and debates of these
countries, exchange their experience, and also hear the outside experts
coming with recommendations. Many people from the CIS-7 countries
came up to me and told me how much they have learned from the

Q.: What were the main objectives of this conference and the
achievements of the conference?

A.: I think that the main objective of the conference was to
exchange information on countries' experiences and analyze them; to gain
lessons from such experience for the future activities. I think that we
have some useful lessons in the four areas that Shengman Zhang, Managing
Director of the World Bank, summarized at the end: financing,
ownership of reforms, capacity building, and regional cooperation.
In all these areas I think you - in the countries - and we - the
international institutions - now have a better idea of what we should we
be doing next.

Q.: What do you think about the most important problems of the
CIS-7 states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova,
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan)?

A.: There are so many problems and all of them need to be solved
quickly, but the most important I think is to create conditions
for a better growth. And that means creating conditions
so that private business can develop. We want to establish
greater stability in the political and economic environment, less
government interference through regulations and other things. The
most important is the regional cooperation, cooperation between the
neighbouring countries, and in the case of Moldova that means also
the cooperation with the European Union and we, the IMF, strongly
support the recommendations that came out of the conference, and
the European Union should look for ways of improving access to its
market by Moldova. The conclusion is that for Moldova the most
important is also the cooperation with the European Union.

Q.: In your opinion, which are the next steps to be taken by the
international organisations in the technical assistance field?

A.: Most of our work in the IMF and the World Bank will continue as
before and we all have our own programs with the individual
countries of the CIS-7 and we will be pursuing those. For example,
in the case of Moldova, we have been in discussion for some time
about completing the next review and those discussions will
continue, and the World Bank, I think, is in the similar stage.

Q.: And in the case of Moldova?

A.: Yes, we have an agreement with the government of Moldova from
last October about the various economic policies that should be
implemented and the government and the National Bank have made some
progress in implementing those measures but there are other things
they have to do, in particular in the area of reducing the size
of the total deposit of the budget of the government together with
the social fund. Secondly, in passing legislation which would
legalize the preshipment inspection, which the Constitutional Court
said was illegal.

Q.: Maybe it is impressive that the conference gave more problems
and questions than results or solutions. Don't you share the same

A.: Maybe this is your impression. Any conference, any discussion of
this kind rises new questions, or course. But I think also that
there are quite a lot of answers. So, I think this is a mixture of
questions and answers.

Q.: What will be your next steps after this conference?

A.: As I said, we will try to make progress in the four areas that
Mr. Shengman Zhang identified in his concluding remarks. I think
the results of the conference will be used by the governments of
the CIS-7 countries to give them ideas for improving policies in
their countries. I think we are going to arrange another meeting of
this kind in about a year, but this has not been yet decided.



Interviu acordat Agentiei BASA-press de catre John Odling-Smee, directorul Departamentului Europa II al Fondului Monetar International

I: Care-i concluzia principala la care au ajuns participantii la Conferinta cu privire la cele mai sarace sapte tari din CSI (CSI-7), desfasurata la Lucerna, Elvetia in zilele de 20-22 ianuarie ?

R: Consider ca discutiile au fost foarte eficiente, din punctul de vedere al Fondului Monetar International, precum si a altor institutii internationale. Conferinta ne-a oferit idei noi, dar si a confirmat faptul ca directiile generale ale recomandarilor privind politicile economice si financiare pe care le-am oferit Moldovei, precum si celorlalte sase tari membre ale Comunitatii Statelor Independente cu venituri mici, au fost corecte. Cred ca din punctul de vedere al tarilor CSI-7, conferinta a fost o experienta utila. Forumul desfasurat in cadrul Initiativei CSI-7 ne-a dat posibilitatea de a asculta argumentele si obiectiile acestor tari, a face schimb de experienta si a asculta recomandarile expertilor straini.

I: Care a fost scopul Conferintei si in ce masura a fost atins ?

R.: Obiectivul principal al conferintei a fost de a realiza acest schimb de experienta si, respectiv, a acumula experienta pentru activitatile de mai departe. Conferinta ne-a oferit o lectie utila, esenta careia a formulat-o in cuvantul de incheiere Shengman Zhang, directorul executiv al Bancii Mondiale, care a declarat ca donatorii sunt gata sa sprijine aceste sapte tari cu conditia continuarii reformelor. Problemele de maxima importanta sunt finantarea si reducerea datoriilor, dezvoltarea sectorului privat, cooperarea regionala.

Cred ca reprezentantii tarilor CSI-7, participante la forumul de la Lucerna, dupa incheierea acestuia au o idee mai buna despre ceea ce trebuie sa faca in viitor pentru a realiza o crestere durabila si reducerea saraciei.

I: Care sunt problemele, cu care se confrunta cele sapte tari Armenia, Azerbaidjan, Georgia, Kirgizstan, Moldova, Tadjikistan si Uzbekistan, solutionarea carora nu mai poate fi amanata?

R: Exista foarte multe probleme si fiecare dintre ele necesita o solutionare rapida. Dar cea mai importanta este de a crea conditii pentru o crestere mai mare in aceste sapte tari, ceea ce inseamna, in primul rand, crearea conditiilor pentru dezvoltarea businessului privat.

Organizatiile financiare internationale doresc sa vada in CSI-7 o mai multa stabilitate in sectorul politic si economic, micsorarea interventiei Guvernului in activitatile economice. Importanta este si cooperarea regionala, in special intre statele vecine, iar in cazul Republicii Moldova cooperarea cu Uniunea Europeana, care ar trebui sa faciliteze accesul pe piata sa a marfurilor moldovenesti.

I: Care ar fi actiunile pe care urmeaza sa le intreprinda organizatiile internationale, donatorii externi in vederea sustinerii acestor sapte tari ?

R: FMI si Banca Mondiala vor continua sa sprijine aceste tari la fel cum au facut-o si pana la Conferinta de la Lucerna. Avem programe proprii cu fiecare tara aparte din cele sapte state membre ale CSI. De exemplu, in cazul Moldovei, noi discutam de ceva timp referitor la urmatoarea misiune si aceste discutii vor continua, iar Banca Mondiala cred ca se afla in aceeasi situatie. In plus, putem oferi asistenta pentru cooperarea regionala.

I: Va rog sa va referiti, in acest context, la relatia FMI cu Republica Moldova ?

R: Avem un acord cu Guvernul Republica Moldova din octombrie trecut referitor la politicele economice care urmeaza sa fie implementate pentru obtinerea transei urmatoare din creditul FMI. Ceea ce asi dori sa mentionez e ca Guvernul si Banca Nationala au inregistrat progrese in implementarea masurilor asupra carora s-a convenit dupa vizita in octombrie 2002 a unei misiuni a FMI. Dar mai este ceva de facut, in particular adoptarea legislatiei care ar legaliza inspectia inainte de expeditie.

I: S-a creat impresia ca in cadrul Conferintei au fost puse mai multe intrebari decat oferite raspunsuri...

R: S-ar putea sa fie doar impresia Dumneavoastra. Desigur ca orice conferinta, orice discutie de acest fel ridica noi intrebari. Dar eu cred ca conferinta a oferit si o multime de raspunsuri.

I: Care vor fi urmatorii pasi dupa conferinta?

R: Dupa cum am spus, vom face tot posibilul pentru a inregistra progrese in cele patru sectoare mentionate de Shengman Zhang, directorul executiv al Bancii Mondiale, finantare, promovarea reformelor, consolidarea capacitatilor si cooperarea regionala. Sper ca guvernele celor sapte tari vor folosi recomandarile Conferintei pentru imbunatatirea politicilor economice si financiare in tarile lor. Cred ca vom reveni la aceste probleme la o noua intrunire de acest fel peste un an.