IMF still discussing Iraqi debt

The International Monetary Fund is still assessing how much of Iraq’s debts should be forgiven and what level of debt would be sustainable for the country scarred by years of war and isolation.

    Wolfensohn says Iraq's debt amounts to about $120 billion

    IMF spokesman Tom Dawson told a news briefing on Thursday that it is the fund's responsibility to provide input to the Paris Club – a grouping of industrialised countries that consider sovereign debt rescheduling and cancellation – and other groups of creditors.

    "I would say we are still in the process of collecting both information regarding the extent of the total obligations, as well as making an estimate with regard to what is potentially a debt sustainability, a level that would be sustainable, from a debt sustainability point of view," he said.

    He added that it would not be appropriate for the fund to disclose estimates right now.

    World Bank president James Wolfensohn has estimated that Iraq's total debt load is around $120 billion and that at least two-thirds should be forgiven to give the country a good start at rebuilding.

    The former Yugoslavia was given a two-thirds debt write-off after Slobodan Milosevic was ousted.

    The Group of Seven rich nations has said they want a deal by the end of the 2004 on restructuring Iraq's debt.

    The IMF's mission chief for Iraq, Lorenzo Perez, told the Madrid donor conference on Iraq last month that the country would need "generous external debt relief" to achieve sustainable debt service payments in the future.

    He said while the economy should make a strong recovery in 2004 and the fiscal situation should improve, public finances will be strained for some years.

    The IMF has said it could provide between $2.5 billion and $4.25 billion in assistance to Iraq over a three year period.

    Initially, it could make $850 million available for emergency post conflict assistance, followed by amounts between $850 million to $1.7 billion annually.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.