Bosnia, IMF agree 1.2 bln euro 3-year deal

SARAJEVO, May 5 (Reuters) - Bosnia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.61 billion) deal over three years to lessen the impact of global economic crisis, Bosnia's Prime Minister said on Tuesday.

The agreement was postponed from the last week to give Bosnian officials more time to pin down technical details and government guarantees about the implementation of policies requested by the lender under the arrangement.

The agency has stepped up its presence in the Balkans as nearly all states are entering recession and many seeking its help, although they had hoped the region could avoid the worldwide downturn.

The National Fiscal Council has projected an economic contraction of 1.5 percent in 2009 and flat growth in 2010. The IMF's latest forecast for Bosnia this year was a 3 percent contraction of GDP.

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