Armenia Georgia to Receive Aid

BRUSSELS — Up to 265 million ecu (about $307 million) will be granted to Armenia–Georgia–and if appropriate–Tajikistan–in the form of 170 million ecu in long-term loans and 95 million ecu in gran’s– according to a decision made by European Union finance ministers Monday.

The ministers said in a statement after their monthly meeting that they agreed in principle to provide "exceptional" financial assistance to Armenia–Georgia–and that "a similar operation will be considered for Tajikistan once circumstance allow."

This assistance was aimed to support the tough reform programs and the associated social costs that Armenia–Georgia and Tajikistan are undertaking.

On February 4–the European Commission proposed to grant 50 million ecu to these countries in five equal annual installmen’s of 10 million ecu in 1997.

During Monday’s meeting–the finance ministers decided to invite the European Commission to augment the proposal for the loan–repayable over 15 years–with higher grant elemen’s–i.e. 10 million ecu in 1997 and 17 million ecu in each of the following five years.

But the ministers stressed that these gran’s should be used only for early repayment of the loan of the 170 million ecu mentioned above.

The Commission will negotiate conditions for the assistance–and Tajikistan will qualify only if it wins the support of the International Monetary Fund in April.

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