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Reagan Meets Yugoslave Leader Vrhovec

May 7, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Reagan and Yugoslav leader Josip Vrhovec compared notes Friday on the Soviet Union and discussed Yugoslav’s economic problems in what the visitor called ″an interesting exchange.″

Vrhovec, a member of the non-aligned socialist country’s nine-member presidency, said the meeting with Reagan should provide ″new impetus to friendly development of our relations.″

Yugoslavia supports U.S.-Soviet disarmament efforts and Vrhovec told reporters he assured Reagan that his country supports efforts to strengthen human rights and ″fight against all forms of international terrorism.″

The White House said the two ″discussed the Soviet Union″ and its leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, including Gorbachev’s talks last month in Belgrade and Reagan’s three summit meetings with the Soviet general-secretary .

White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater also said Reagan congratulated Vrhovec on Yugoslavia’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a loan to support the country’s monetary and economic programs. Vrhovec summarized the terms to Reagan, he said, and asked the president for continued U.S. financial help.

At IMF headquarters, where the loan has not yet been announced, a spokesman said it was premature to release details of the amount of credit or conditions Yugoslavia agreed to meet. Conditions often include promises to reduce government subsidies, restructure prices and devalue currency.

Fitzwater quoted Reagan as saying that for Yugoslavia, the United States ″would work with the Paris club to help out on other financing as much as possible.″ ″Paris Club″ stands for wealthy countries holding the debts of poorer nations which, after a debtor meets IMF credit conditions, normally agree to extend the repayment times.

Yugoslavia has a $20 billion foreign debt and Europe’s highest inflation, 170 percent.

The two leaders agreed that U.S.-Yugoslav economic relations are developing ″in a very good way,″ and economic cooperation needs to be upgraded and diversified, Vrhovec said.

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