February 9, 2015 / 11:49 AM / 3 years ago

Ukraine calls parliament to discuss budget changes for IMF deal

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's government will ask parliament to meet Feb. 23-27 to discuss budget changes vital for the successful completion of talks with the International Monetary Fund, Interfax news agency quoted a deputy prime minister as saying on Monday.

An IMF team is in Kiev for talks with Ukrainian authorities about boosting financial support to Ukraine and said in January it would support a bigger, longer-term funding plan than its current $17 billion programme, but did not give exact figures.

"This meeting is vital in order for us to be able to conclude successfully negotiations with the IMF mission," Vyacheslav Kirilenko was quoted as saying at a meeting of parliamentary deputies.

The Fund, along with Ukraine's other Western supporters, has said that any extra financial help will hinge on Kiev's ability to implement long-promised reforms.

Its latest mission was due to leave Ukraine at the end of January, but the visit was extended amid speculation the IMF was holding off from a final decision after a sharp escalation in the pro-Russian separatist conflict in east Ukraine.

The mission will continue talks in Kiev until Wednesday, Interfax reported an unnamed source, who had been briefed by central bank head Valeriia Gontareva, as saying.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is due to meet the leaders of Russia, France and Germany on Wednesday for further talks on defusing the conflict in the east.

The fighting has helped push Ukraine close to bankruptcy, prompting Kiev to seek talks with sovereign bondholders as well as an increase in foreign aid to plug an estimated $15 billion funding gap.

Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Mark Heinrich

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