Tuesday, April 15, 2003
US to forgive Iraqi debt?
Finance ministers and development activists gathered here Friday for meetings to discuss the world economy, poverty and reform of the world's financial institutions were stunned when a U.S. official suggested that global creditors should forgive Iraqi debts.
U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose government often sets the tempo for meetings such as this weekend's gathering of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, took the place by storm when he said Iraq's whopping debt - estimated at between 100 and 300 billion dollars - must be cancelled. [...]
Activists said they were elated that a U.S. official had recognised that debts left from corrupt and repressive governments are intractable obstacles to re-developing a country like Iraq, and that officials should apply the same logic to other nations suffering under worse conditions than Iraq. But some doubted that would happen.
"It's clearly self-serving," said Soren Ambrose from the 50 Years is Enough network.
The U.S. government has steadfastly opposed cancelling debts in the rest of the world, he added, "even in cases as egregious as the apartheid government's debts in South Africa and Mobutu's debts in Zaire (known now as Congo)".
This sounds much like the forgiving of Pakistan's debt which I posted about recently. Again, it looks like a fairly transparent attempt to get a country on our side...