HC Deb 27 November 2003 vol 415 cc392-3W
Mr. David Stewart

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to re-assess Iraq's debt repayments to the UK to assist the reconstruction of the country. [141558]

Mr. Boateng

The Government has made clear that we are seeking a fair and sustainable solution to Iraq's debt problems.

We believe the most effective way to deliver a solution is for the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other responsible international organisations, to complete first their assessment of Iraq's needs, resources and obligations. That would then be followed by a comprehensive debt restructuring by the Paris Club of official creditors and comparable treatment from other official and private creditors. G7 finance ministries have asked creditors to make their best efforts to complete the process by the end of 2004.

The Government believes that Iraq's debts should be dealt with under the new "Evian approach" to debt restructuring agreed by the Paris Club in October, which offers a long-term solution for countries with the most serious debt problems, including debt reduction where a need is clearly demonstrated. The Prime Minister has made clear that he hopes creditors will be generous in recognising Iraq's needs for the future.