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March 20 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said on Monday that the International Monetary Fund’s executive board has approved a $2.9 billion bailout for Sri Lanka which will overall give it access up to $7 billion in funding.

The IMF program will help improve Sri Lanka’s standing in international capital markets, the president’s office said in a statement, potentially helping it emerge from its worst financial crisis in over seven decades.

The IMF did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Wickremesinghe told parliament earlier in March the IMF deal was crucial to ensure other creditors could also release funds. (Reporting by Jyoti Narayan and Uditha Jayasinghe; Editing by Hugh Lawson)