Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today hailed the decision of the 19-member Paris Club of nations to cancel the remaining 20 per cent of Iraq's debt from the Saddam Hussein era – amounting to $7.8 billion – and called on other creditors to take similar action to help the country rebuild its economy.
“This is a major achievement and acknowledgement of the Iraqi Government's determination to implement necessary reforms despite overwhelming challenges,” Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.
“The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to call on creditors, other than those of the Paris Club, to advance Iraqi debt relief to facilitate the country's path to prosperity and reintegration into the regional and international economy,” the statement added.
According to the statement, the 22 December decision by the Paris Club, an informal grouping of creditor nations, was taken in the context of the International Compact with Iraq, which is co-chaired by the United Nations and the Iraqi Government.
Under the Compact, launched in May 2007, the Government of Iraq will work to meet basic needs, protect the rights of all citizens and ensure the optimal use of the country's resources for the common good.