Medvedev, IMF chief discuss eurozone debt crisis

AP News

11/7/2011 10:03:30 AM - AP News

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was holding talks with the head of the International Monetary Fund Monday over how his country can provide support to ailing eurozone countries.

The IMF's managing director Christine Lagarde met with Medvedev for talks focused on the European debt crisis, her first visit outside the European Union since replacing Dominique Strauss-Kahn in July.

Medvedev opened the meeting by saying that he was willing to discuss issues related to global economy and the results of the last week's summit of the leaders of the Group of 20 economies.

Russia has said it is willing to offer up to $10 billion to the IMF to help it support the eurozone, but has indicated it wants a bigger role in the global financial institution in return. Like other emerging economies, Russia has said developing nations should have a larger say in the IMF's decision-making process.

The so-called BRICS countries _ Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa _ are pressing hard for a greater voice in global economic matters, and the G-20 summit last week ended with only vague offers from them to invest in the eurozone.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the BRICS had accumulated trillions of dollars in foreign reserves and were ready to channel their support through the IMF.

"Our countries are ready to take part in joint efforts, including the provision of credits, under those rules and channels that exist in the International Monetary Fund," Lavrov said at a news conference.

In exchange for financial assistance, Lavrov said the emerging markets would call for implementation of previous agreements to reform the IMF and the global financial system.

In an interview published on Monday in the business daily Kommersant, Lagarde acknowledged Russia's importance in the G-20 and as one of the IMF's top 10 shareholders.

"Together with other emerging economies that make up the BRICS, Russia plays a key role as a driving force for global economic growth," she said.

The visit marks Lagarde's first official foreign trip outside the European Union since she became the IMF's managing director in May 2011.

After Russia, Lagarde will visit China and Japan, both of which have also mentioned possible offers of financial assistance to Europe through the IMF.