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U.S. Senate panel passes Ukraine aid bill

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved the bill that would grant loan assistance to crisis-stricken Ukraine and ratify reform measures for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Senate Committee voted 14-3 to approve the legislation which would provide about 1 billion U.S. dollars in loan guarantee to support Ukraine's economy. It also gives the green light to the much-delayed reforms of the IMF.

The bill "includes needed reforms to the United States' participation in the IMF, which would allow the United States to leverage significant support from the IMF for Ukraine today and for similar unforeseen crises in the future," said Robert Menendez, chairman of the Committee, in introduction of the legislation.

In a statement following the vote, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew called the move "an important step forward" in passing the 2010 IMF reforms.

The legislation is still pending a full Senate vote and may face resistance from the consecutives. Furthermore, as legislation passed by the House of Representatives last week does not include the IMF provisions, it is unclear whether the House will agree to link the aid to Ukraine with the IMF reform measures.

It is also unknown whether the Congress could complete the legislative process of the bill before lawmakers leave for a recess on Friday.

[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 12Mar14]

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