Comments RE Debt from Bush's UN Speech
From President Bush’s speech today at the UN…
Even with increased aid to fight disease and reform economies, many
nations are held back by another heavy challenge: the burden of debt. So
America and many nations have also acted to lift this burden that limits the
growth of developing economies, and holds millions of people in poverty.
Today poor countries with the heaviest debt burdens are receiving more
than 30 billion dollars in debt relief. And to prevent the build-up of future
debt, my country and other nations have agreed that international financial
institutions should increasingly provide new aid in the form of grants, rather
than loans. The G-8 agreed at Gleneagles to go further. To break the
lend-and-forgive cycle permanently, we agreed to cancel 100 percent of the
debt for the world's most heavily indebted nations. I call upon the World
Bank and IMF to finalize this historic agreement as soon as possible.
We will fight to lift the burden of poverty from places of suffering – not
just for a moment, but permanently.
:up: Now let's see some ACTION, from him and other G8/Euro leaders. Apparently some non-G8 countries are really giving the historic deal the G8 came up with this summer a lot of trouble. :banghead:
As if we need more speeches? The UN needs to get its ass in gear. :angry:
All talk, not enough action. :blahblah:
Yeah, I hear ya'll. :sigh:
This seems to represent a bit of action, at least.
U.S. Opposes Changing Debt Relief Plan
By JEANNINE AVERSA
The Associated Press
Tuesday, September 13, 2005; 6:23 PM
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration warned Tuesday that a plan to wipe out $40 billion worth of debt held by poor countries could come unglued if attempts are made to significantly change it.
Countries that are members of the World Bank, the IMF as well as others have been talking about how to implement a debt cancellation deal announced with much fanfare in July when leaders of the world's eight major industrial countries gathered in Gleneagles, Scotland.
The debate is likely to figure prominently at the annual meetings Sept. 24-25 of the 184-nation World Bank and IMF.
The agreement would initially cancel an estimated $40 billion worth of debt payments that 18 poor countries _ most in Africa _ owe to international lenders such as the World Bank and IMF.
Disputes center around a number of issues, including whether all of the money that will be lost through debt cancellation will be made up fully by the rich countries and how long the rich countries will need to make payments.
The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, for instance, want to make sure that any debt deal doesn't reduce monies available to the World Bank and other international lending institutions to provide aid, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, some anti-poverty and other groups want the debt relief expanded to cover 60 plus poor countries. The agreement initially covers 18 countries and as many as 20 others could be eligible if they meet certain conditions.
If there are "attempts to significantly add to the number of eligible countries or the financing requirements beyond the original Group of Eight deal, then the deal would be in jeopardy," warned Treasury Department spokesman Tony Fratto. "Attempts to alter the deal at this point can make it very, very difficult to move forward and get it done."
Fratto insists that the United States _ a champion of fully erasing poor countries debts _ wants to see the accord from the Group of Eight nations implemented. Group of Eight countries are the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia.
Their initiative would cost billions of dollars spread over decades. Rich countries have pledged to cover the money that would be lost over the next three years by the World Bank's International Development Association, which makes interest-free loans to the world's poorest countries.
After that three-year period, though, the plan is fluid. Rich countries have promised to make sure debt cancellation is paid for in the years ahead but details as to exactly how that would work and how much countries would have to pay haven't been nailed down.
An internal World Bank paper raised the concern that the debt proposal "could reduce IDA's financial capacity significantly and may fail to deliver additional resources to poor countries."
"There are a lot of tensions," said Max Lawson, policy adviser to Oxfam, an international aid group that supports debt cancellation to impoverished countries. Lawson said he's sympathetic to the notion that the rich countries should have a specific, binding commitment to pay for debt cancellation in the decades ahead and to make sure that overall resources of the World Bank and other lending institutions aren't diminished.
"We don't think the deal will fall apart completely. But there's the possibility that it could be weakened or watered down," Lawson said.
Oxfam would like to see the debt agreement include more countries, Lawson said. The group doesn't want additional eligibility requirements put on poor countries, he said.
Wolfowitz, in an interview with the AP last week, acknowledged there are thorny sticking points that need to be resolved but he was cautiously optimistic that an agreement would be adopted at the upcoming World Bank and IMF annual meetings.
IMF spokesman Thomas Dawson, responding to a reporter's question about the debt debate on Tuesday, downplayed the threat that the deal could come unhinged.
"We are on track" to consider the proposal during the annual meetings, he said, adding that it wasn't his sense that "anything is falling apart."
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