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Sun 12 Jun 2011 08:26 PM

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UAE back France's Lagarde for IMF chief role

French minister Christine Lagarde also says she has support of Bahrain in bid for top IMF job

UAE back France's Lagarde for IMF chief role
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde announces her candidacy for International Monetary Fund (IMF) presidency. (Getty Images)

The UAE said on Sunday it will support French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde in her bid to become the next leader of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Obeid Humaid Al Tayer, the UAE's Minister of State for Financial Affairs, said the UAE's support for Lagarde came on the back of her role in leading the French Ministry of Finance, as well as the efforts she made during the G20 meetings under the rotating presidency of France.

These meetings tackled important issues including those related to economic development, alleviating unemployment and high prices, he said in comments published by state news agency WAM.

According to a later report by Bloomberg, Lagarde told reporters in Cairo that she also has the backing of Bahrain and other countries that she didn’t identify.

With the deadline for the job ending on Friday, only Bank of Israel governor and former IMF deputy chief Stanley Fischer has emerged as a candidate to challenge frontrunner Lagarde and Mexico's central bank chief Agustin Carstens.

Lagarde is backed by the European Union and a handful of smaller countries from Georgia to Mauritius. Paris is hopeful that Washington and Beijing will also stand behind her.

Lagarde was in Saudi Arabia on Saturday as part of a world tour to drum up support among emerging market economies.

Fischer said on Saturday he would compete for the IMF job, vacated when Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn quit in May over charges he tried to rape a New York hotel maid. Strauss-Kahn has denied the charges.