Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday claimed all technical-level discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on reaching a staff-level agreement are over. However, this time, the minister refrained from giving a timeline on when the deal will be inked. The IMF wants written commitments by friendly countries for financing Pakistan before materializing the staff-level agreement. The staff-level agreement for the revival of a crucial $7 billion Extended Fund Facility has been stalled for months. During a question-answer session in the Senate, Mr Dar reiterated that the country would not default on its external payment obligations. “There is no question of a default. Pakistan will manage its responsibilities, and make every payment on time,” he insisted. The minister’s comments come a day after Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Ghaus-Pasha said the staff-level agreement on the 9th review was taking time because the IMF wants to independently verify financing commitments from friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Senate was informed on Thursday that the foreign exchange reserves stand at about $10 billion and the target is $13 billion by June this year. Dar told the upper house during the question hour that there had been improvement in the foreign exchange reserves over the last five weeks. He further said the government has not deferred any international obligations ever since coming to power, and is making timely payments. He claimed the country’s external debt had gone down. Regarding the agreement with IMF, Mr Dar claimed the technical discussions with the lender have been completed.