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Sudan welcomes France’s decision to cancel its debt

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November 7, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese foreign ministry hailed the decision by France to include the country in the list of nations that would benefit from the debt cancellation scheme announced by Paris this week.

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French Junior Minister for Social and Solidarity Economy Benoit Hamon speaks during a meeting of socialist mouvement "Un monde d’avance" in Vieux-Boucau on September 28, 2013 (JEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images)

The debt relief plan will also include four other nations namely Somalia, Zimbabwe, Chad and the Ivory Coast in the amount of $2.42 billion as incorporated in France’s 2014 budget.

France’s social economy minister Benoît Hamon told the NewZimbabwe.com that “The debt relief is almost immediate, since we are transferring loans made in the past into donations".

It was not clear how much debt is owed by Sudan to France.

The spokesman of Sudan’s foreign ministry Abu Bakr al-Sideeg expressed hope that other European nations would now be encouraged to follow France’s footsteps.

He noted that Sudan satisfied all technical requirements for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and that the international community has promised Khartoum to assist with debt cancellation as reward for 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed with the south.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report released last week that Sudan’s debt will hit $44.7 billion this year which amounts to 85% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Around three quarters of Sudan’s $40 billion plus external debt is owed to the Paris Club of creditor nations and other non-member states. The remaining balance is equally divided between commercial banks as well as international and regional financial bodies.

Last April, the IMF’s Mission Chief for Sudan Edward Gemayel said that it will be near impossible for Sudan to secure debt relief even if it satisfied technical and economic requirements.

“I’m not saying this is impossible but it is difficult because it is linked to political issues which requires a public relations effort with member countries” IMF deputy director of the Middle East and Central Asia department Edward Gemayel said during a visit to Khartoum.

He pointed out that any debt relief deal with Sudan would require the unanimous consent of all 55 countries in Paris Club which he suggested would be improbable.

Khartoum and Juba have agreed to work jointly to seek debt relief from creditors and if that fails will sit down to see how it can be divided.

(ST)

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