Pakistan, IMF in final round of talks on $8 billion bailout

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan delivers his speech for the opening ceremony of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) on Friday, April 26, 2019, in Beijing. (How Hwee Young/Pool Photo via AP)
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is live broadcasted speaking of "substantial progress" in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a key element in China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, during the Second Belt and Road Forum In Beijing on Friday, April 26, 2019. Financially troubled Pakistan has borrowed billions of dollars from China in recent years through loans whose terms remain largely undisclosed. China has pledged more than $60 billion to Pakistan in loans and investments for roads, ports, power plants and industrial parks. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have launched the final round of talks over the $8 billion bailout package for Islamabad, a deal that's expected to be signed next month.

The round started on Monday in the Pakistani capital and is expected to last till May 7.

It comes as the IMF issued a report on Mideast and regional economies, saying that Pakistan's economic growth is expected to slow from about 5% last year to close to 3% this year.

The U.S., which exerts major influence over IMF, has said it should not finance the billions of dollars in loans that Pakistan has taken from China as part of Beijing's "Belt and Road" infrastructure initiative.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised to improve the country's economy and provide more jobs.

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