HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 c117W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what sums in United Kingdom claims on Iraq have been notified to the Paris Club, including interest, broken down by(a) government and (b) non-government claims. [154556]

John Healey

The Government have notified to the Paris Club unrecovered claims of £623 million arising from commercial export contracts with Iraq signed prior to the first Gulf conflict in 1991 insured by the Export Credits Guarantee Department. This amount does not include interest, which it is estimated could bring the figure to around £1.15 billion. The Paris Club deals only with claims arising out of government loans or government-insured commercial credits.

The Government believe that Iraq's external debt is unsustainable and that creditors will need to agree a significant reduction through a clear multilateral process in order to restore Iraq to sustainability. That is likely to involve writing off the vast majority of Iraq's external debt.