BBG Watch Commentary

Sec LewU.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has encouraged Ukraine to begin discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on an assistance package as soon as possible once a transitional government is in place in Kiev, Voice of Russia reported.

According to Voice of Russia, “Lew spoke with Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a member of Ukraine’s interim leadership, while returning to Washington from the G20 meeting in Sydney, where there was broad support for an IMF-based package.”

Germany’s Deutsche Welle also reported on Secretary Lew’s Sunday comments regarding Ukraine and the IMF.

Mon, Feb 24, 2014
Source: DW (Germany)

Voice of America (VOA) has not reported on these latest statements or Secretary Lew’s phone call with Arseniy Yatsenyuk, even though the U.S. Department of the Treasury provided a readout for journalists.

Earlier Sunday, Voice of Russia also reported on a phone cal between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, while Voice of America failed to report on the Kerry-Lavrov phone call, which also focused on Ukraine. Voice of Russia was also many hours ahead of VOA in reporting on U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice’s comments on Ukraine in “Meet the Press” Sunday TV program.

US Treasury Secretary urges Ukraine to begin IMF discussions soon, Voice of Russia, February 24, 2014

Readout from a Treasury official:

Today Secretary Jacob J. Lew spoke by phone with Ukrainian leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk en route back to Washington, D.C. from the G-20 meeting in Sydney, Australia.

Secretary Lew noted the broad support at the just-concluded G-20 meeting for an international assistance package centered on the IMF as soon as the transitional Ukrainian government is fully established by the Parliament. He encouraged Ukraine to begin discussions with the IMF as quickly thereafter as possible. Secretary Lew noted that many of the Finance Ministers at the G-20 meeting made similar statements.

Secretary Lew expressed that the United States, together with Europe and others in the international community, are ready to supplement an IMF program to cushion the impact of reforms on low-income Ukrainians. However, Secretary Lew underscored the need to implement reforms that could be supported by an IMF program.

Secretary Lew and Mr. Yatsenyuk agreed to stay in close contact over the coming days and weeks as Ukraine moves forward rapidly to establish political and economic stability.