Sunday, April 06, 2003
US forgives Pakistani debt.
THE United States wrote off $US1 billion ($1.67 bn) in Pakistani debt in a ceremony in the capital today, one of the rewards for President General Pervez Musharraf's decision to support Washington's war on terrorism.
The debt relief represents nearly one third of what Pakistan owes the United States. The rest of the money was rescheduled on more favourable terms last year, after the US Congress approved the package.
"Today's signing represents a promise kept and another milestone in our expanding partnership," US Ambassador Nancy Powell said in a statement. "The forgiveness of $1 billion in bilateral debt is just one piece of a multifaceted, multibillion dollar assistance package."
Of course it is. The cynical, like me, might also say it's an at least semi-transparent way of keeping a known nuclear-capable Muslim nation on the US' side at a time when the Muslim world is understandably tense. Not sure if I liked the sound of this bit, though:
Powell added that "the United States is in Pakistan for the long term."
What, you mean like Afghanistan and Iraq?