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Latvia saved from bankruptcy by international loan - president


RIGA, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - Latvia was saved from bankruptcy by international financial assistance that started to arrive in December, President Valdis Zatlers said on Wednesday.

In an effort to stabilize the country's economy, Latvia agreed a credit line last year with the International Monetary Fund and other international organizations that could be worth 7.5 billion euros ($9.7 billion) by 2011.

In late December, Latvia received the first part of the three-year package estimated at 589 million euros.

"The international financial aid saved the country from bankruptcy by allowing it to pay pensions to pensioners and salaries to state servants," Zatlers said at a news conference.

Latvia has experienced the worst economic decline in the European Union. By the end of the third quarter of 2008, the country's GDP had fallen 4.6% in 12 months.

Over 400 Latvians signed a letter addressed to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in December asking him to buy their country. Some 2,000 Latvians had previously signed a petition on the internet asking the government of Sweden to "occupy" their country.

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