GENEVA, (Reuters) - A senior World Bank official called on Friday for greater international funding for Armenia and six other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) reeling from poverty, debt and corruption so as to avert regional instability.
Johannes Linn, World Bank vice-president for Europe and Central Asia, said donor countries and international financial institutions would meet next month in London to hammer out a game plan for helping the low-income seven.
The region's "biggest risk" came from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, according to the German economist.
"The international community, together with the countries themselves, has the biggest challenge in trying to prevent a long-term trap for these countries and with it a long-term risk of instability in what is a key region between north and south, east and west," Linn told a news conference.
"The biggest issues are social deprivation, poverty, increasing debt and of course the possibility of a lack of peace internally and maybe cross-border violence," he added.
The World Bank plans to increase lending this year to $420 million to the seven countries, up from $337 million in the fiscal year through last June, according to a spokesman. Nearly all loans have been on concessionary terms from the International Development Association, its soft lending arm.