UAE backs France’s IMF candidate

Filed on June 13, 2011

DUBAI The UAE supports candidacy of the French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, to the leadership post of the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, Obeid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, 
announced on Sunday.

The UAE’s support for Lagarde to take up the post of the IMF Director- General sprang out of her role in leading the French Ministry of Finance and in recognition of her achievements, as well as the efforts she made during the G20 meetings under the rotatingpresidency of France.

These meetings tackled important issues including those related to economic development, alleviating unemployment and high prices. Lagarde, Mexican central bank chief Agustin Carstens and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer are in the race to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last month after he was charged with attempted rape, as managing director.

Saudi Arabia seeks greater role

Saudi Arabia, wants to have “a greater role” at the International Monetary Fund, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing the kingdom’s Finance Minister Ibrahim Al Assaf.

The world’s largest oil supplier has played an “important role” in stabilising prices with its crude production, the news service said on Sunday, citing Al Assaf as saying during a Press conference with Christine Lagarde in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia doesn’t want the IMF presidency limited to a certain region, the news service said, citing Al Assaf. The country will support the “best candidate” and ‘‘most efficient one from its viewpoint,’’ the news service reported.

Egypt positive

Christine Lagarde said on Sunday she had received “very affirmative” support from the Egyptian government for her bid to become the next head of the IMF.

After meeting Egypt’s finance and foreign ministers, as well as the governor of the Egyptian central bank, she told a news conference the Egyptian government had been “very affirmative” in support of her candidacy. Agencies

Lagarde has been on a world tour to drum up support for her bid among emerging market economies. This included a visit on Saturday to the Middle East’s economic powerhouse Saudi Arabia.

“I have the honour of having been presented by Bahrain and having the support of other countries (in this region) that have expressed themselves,” she said.

She is backed by the European Union and a handful of smaller countries from Georgia to Mauritius. Paris is hopeful that Washington and Beijing will also stand behind her.

“If I am elected as director general of the institution, I would have at heart serving all member states, taking account of the diversity of economic development,” she said in Cairo.

“I consider I am not the candidate of Europe but I hope to be the candidate of a big consensus of members of the institution.”

Asked in Egypt about any possible restructuring of Greek debt, she said: “The goal that must guide us is stability, not something that provokes disturbance and big volatility.”—

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