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International Monetary Fund logo is seen outside the headquarters building during the IMF/World Bank spring meeting in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund is open to providing emergency financing to help vulnerable countries with food security issues, or additional funding under existing lending programs, a senior IMF official said Wednesday.

Vitor Gaspar, director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department, told a news conference food security was a critical issue at this week's meetings of IMF and World Bank members, with additional financing needed by some nations, especially those already facing debt distress.

"If a country already has a program with the fund, additional financing associated with food security priorities can be considered, and in case such a program does not exist, or for whatever reason the country does not want to use that channel, the possibility of emergency financing is also open to this type of situation," he said.

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Reporting by Andrea Shalal

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