Saturday, February 28, 2004


Iraq has won in principle a 60 percent reduction in the $120 billion it owes international community, Iraq's planning minister said Saturday.

Mehdi al-Hafedh told reporters on the sidelines of a donors meeting in Abu Dhabi to kick off aid commitments for Iraq's reconstruction that the amount of debt reduction had not been officially announced yet.

"In principle, we have a 60 percent reduction in our debts," Hafedh told reporters...

Iraq's debt burden had been the subject of a sustained lobbying effort by the United States, which sent special envoy James Baker to ask countries like France, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Japan for a reduction.
"In principal" is a caveat that nations don't always do what they have committed to is evidenced in this story
Iraq's interim government has asked donors to release $4bn urgently for priority projects to rebuild the country, ravaged by war and sanctions.

"Our needs are enormous and urgent," Iraqi's planning minister, Mehdi al-Hafidh, told a conference in Abu Dhabi...

"It is high time the promises made in Madrid were honoured," Mr Hafidh was quoted as saying by the French news agency, AFP.

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