1. Various of roundtable
2. Iraq’s finance minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi signing agreement
3. Various of other delegations signing agreement
4. Pullout to wide of delegates
5. Various of delegates clapping
6. Various of Abdul-Mahdi shaking hands
7. SOUNDBITE: (English) Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Iraqi finance minister
“Well this is, as we said, a historic moment for Iraq. We were waiting for this moment for a long time and now it is achieved with the help of all our friends here present at the Paris Club. This will help in reconstructing Iraq. This will bring stability to the country and to our neighbours and to as much to the international community. We think Iraq will be a very positive partner in world affairs. Iraq used to be a donor country and I think this will enable Iraq not only to reconstruct itself but also to be once again a donor country, helping other countries.
8. Wide of news conference
9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Paris Club Chairman
“The total amount of the debt due to the Paris Club creditors is 38.9 (b) billion dollars and with the debt reduction at the end of the period, at the end of the third (inaudible) part of of the agreement, the remaining Iraqi debt will be 7.8 (b) billion dollars.
Major economic powers agreed to write off (b) billions of dollars of debt for Iraq, the Paris Club said Sunday, in a deal that marked a significant step in US efforts to help put the Iraqi economy back on its feet.
Under the agreement, the Paris Club of 19 creditor nations will write off 38.9 (b) billion US dollars that Iraq owes them, said the group’s chairman,
The Paris Club includes European countries, the United States, Japan, Russia, Canada and Australia.
The United States had been pressing for up to 95 percent of the Paris Club debt to be lifted.
Iraq has said that its foreign debt is hindering postwar reconstruction, already struggling amid the country’s persistent insurgency.
The deal represented a considerable concession from France, just as French President Jacques Chirac’s government is pushing to rebuild ties with the administration of George W. Bush that were damaged by disagreements over the US-led Iraq war, which France opposed.
Speaking at a news conference in Paris, Jouyet said the debt reduction plan would work in three phases, with a first slice of 30 percent to be written off immediately.
Another 30 percent will be cancelled when Iraq agrees on a reform program with the International Monetary Fund expected in 2005.
The third and final part, representing 20 percent of Iraq’s debt to the Paris Club, will be cancelled in 2008, once Iraq has completed its three-year IMF programme, according to Jouyet.
Iraq’s finance minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, hailed what he described as an “historic agreement”.
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