Wednesday, April 18, 2007

'Officials': Saudi Arabia agrees to forgive 80% of $15 billion Iraqi debt

A bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has an estimated GDP of $250 billion a year.

Saudi Arabia has agreed to forgive 80 percent of the more than $15 billion that Iraq owes the kingdom, Iraqi and Saudi officials said yesterday, a major step given Saudi reluctance to provide financial assistance to the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

But Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr said in an interview that Russia was holding out on debt forgiveness until talks begin on concessions that Russian oil and gas companies had under Saddam Hussein. Russian Embassy officials in Washington declined to comment late yesterday.

The Bush administration has been working for months to persuade other governments to follow the U.S. lead and write off all of their shares of Iraq's debts, which Jabr said total $140 billion... Iraq also owes $199 billion in compensation for the Persian Gulf War that followed Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, analysts said.

Read the rest at the Washington Post