G8 fails Iraqis on Saddam’s odious debt

16 June 2004 by Jubilee Iraq

There has been intense speculation that the G8 G8 Group composed of the most powerful countries of the planet: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA, with Russia a full member since June 2002. Their heads of state meet annually, usually in June or July. summit will see a dramatic move on Saddam’s $120bn debt, but the G8 countries have not even put the issue on the official agenda. Their recent statements make it clear they are ignoring their guilt in financing Saddam and will instead use the debt to control Iraq economically.

Justin Alexander, Jubilee Iraq’s international coordinator says:

“All of the G8 countries supported Saddam in the 1980s with sizable loans which they knew were financing the horrific war against Iran rather than benefiting the Iraqi people. It is deeply cynical for them to now debate how much Iraq will repay, the US which may be saying pay 10% (though in reality they are probably aiming for about 30%) and France which is saying pay 50% are both in the wrong. If the G8 really wants to demonstrate leadership they should admit that they were wrong to finance Saddam and write off their debt claims unconditionally.”

Yasar Mohamad Salman Hasan, the son of one of Iraq’s greatest economists (tortured by Saddam) says:

The G8 and Paris Club Paris Club This group of lender States was founded in 1956 and specializes in dealing with non-payment by developing countries.

intend to use the debt as a lever to control Iraq’s economy. It is no secret that any debt ‘forgiveness’ will be conditional on Iraq following IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

economic policies and meeting their strict targets on privatisation and liberalisation. Instead the G8 should write off all their odious claims and give Iraqis the freedom and sovereignty to decide themselves which economic policies are best to tackle the desperate poverty, unemployment and reconstruction needs.”

These views are almost universally held in Iraq, including by the newly appointed finance minister Adil Mahdi who spoke out strongly when we first met with him back in October 2003. He recently told Reuters bluntly that he expects at least 90% debt cancellation and would tolerate no foreign interference in Iraq’s economic decision-making. The Central Bank Central Bank The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

ECB : http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/Pages/home.aspx
governor Sinan Al-Shabibi, formerly a debt expert at UNCTAD UNCTAD
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
This was established in 1964, after pressure from the developing countries, to offset the GATT effects.

in Geneva, was one of the founding supporters of Jubilee Iraq.

See the report “Paying for the Executioners Bullets: Iraqi views on debt” for more Iraqi quotes. www.jubileeiraq.org/iraqiviews/. Jubilee Iraq can provide contact numbers for Iraqi economists to interview.

Notes for Editors:

· Jubilee Iraq is an international coalition of Iraqi economists and NGOS in creditor countries who are campaigning for a fair resolution of Saddam’s debt and reparations.

· See www.jubileeiraq.org for detailed information on the amounts of debt, politics, legal arguments and the latest news.

Contact: Justin Alexander; justin at jubileeiraq.org; +4478 1313 7171.



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