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Jack Lew Urges Ukraine To Begin IMF Discussions Soon

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew speaks to the media at the close of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meetings on February 23, 2014 at The Intercontinental in Sydney, Australia. The G20 is two days of meeting that brings together Finance Ministers and Bank Governors from around the world, in a forum aimed at economic co-operation and decision making. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images) | Lisa Maree Williams via Getty Images

SYDNEY, Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.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.

Lew spoke with Arseny 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, according to a Treasury official.

The United States, together with Europe and others in the international community, were ready to supplement an IMF programme to cushion the impact of reforms on low-income Ukrainians, the official said.

Ukraine's interim leadership pledged on Sunday to put the country back on course for European integration now Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovich had been ousted from the presidency.

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