§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement concerning Her Majesty's Government's policy on debt failures by third-world countries.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The Government have taken the lead in international efforts to provide debt relief for the poorest countries. We are currently seeking the support of other creditors for the Chancellor of the Exchequer's recent "Trinidad initiative", which would involve a reduction of two thirds in the bilateral debt of the eligible countries.
We welcome the increasing willingness of banks to negotiate reductions in the debt owed to them, mainly by middle-income countries. We support the decision taken last year to allow the IMF and World bank to provide financial support for voluntarily negotiated debt reduction agreements, and are contributing our share of the necessary resources.
Lasting recovery from debt problems will depend on the pursuit of sound economic policies in indebted countries. The Government therefore believe that international assistance should be directed to countries implementing economic reforms.
§ Mr. Skinner
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Minister for Overseas Development next expects to meet other countries' Ministers to discuss third-world problems, including indebtedness; and if he will make a statement.