Sudan expects EU to tackle its foreign debts

09:46, May 13, 2011      

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Sudan and the European Development Commission on Thursday started talks here focusing on fields of bilateral cooperation, particularly the country's foreign debts file.

The visit of European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs to Khartoum comes as part of continuation of the dialogue between the two sides on mechanism of cooperation outside the framework of Cotonou Agreement and to agree on arrangements to utilize the non- refundable 150 million euro (213 million U.S. dollars) grant specified by the Council of the European Union for Sudan.

Sudanese Minister of International Cooperation Jalal al-Digair, speaking at the talk session, reiterated that Sudan was looking forward to completing all procedures regarding implementation of the new grant in fields of rehabilitation and its development.

He expressed hope that the European Union would play a prominent role in tackling Sudan's foreign debts via the Paris Club which represents 50 percent of the creditors besides the issue of Sudan's joining of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Andris Piebalgs, for his part, reiterated the EU commitment to continue its efforts with the donors to speed up Sudan's utilization of the debt relieving initiatives and vowed to tackle debts of the European Investment Bank on Sudan within the European framework.

He commended the Sudanese government's fulfillment of its commitments in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), affirming that Sudan could benefit from the EU resources allotted for regional cooperation through the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

In this respect Piebalgs urged for enhancing the IGAD capabilities to accelerate preparation of regional projects and programs that serve regional integration, reiterating the importance of enhancing the cooperation with Sudan at this phase.

The government of Sudan has recently been embarked on tackling the country's foreign debts which amounted to about 34 billion U.S Dollars.

The most recent report by the World Bank (WB) indicated that Sudan's foreign debts were 34 billion dollars until the first half of 2009 compared to 31.9 billion dollars by end of 2008, for example with an increase of three billion dollars during 2009 amid expectations that this increase would rise by end of 2011.

The last joint report of the WB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that Sudan's foreign debts reached 31.9 billion dollars by end of December 2008.

The report explained that Sudan's original foreign debts were 14 billion dollars and that the rest of the sum, 17.9 billion, was benefits and penalties over delay and non-commitment to payment.

The report further indicated that Sudan's foreign debts, which remarkably increased during the past years, were divided as 32 percent for Paris Club, 37 percent for the non-member states in the Paris Club, 16 percent for the international financial institutions, 13 percent for the international commercial banks and three percent for foreign importers.

The report further stated that the country's foreign debts represented 284 percent of the exports compared to the 150 percent international indicator, which indicates the difficulty of borrowing as benefits and penalties rates increase for non-payment.

The Sudanese Ministry of Finance and National Economy has recently embarked on studying many options on how to settle the country's foreign debts prior to present these options to the international community to help in sorting out the debts issue after Sudan has become deserving debts relief as it is considered a country coming out of conflicts.

The ministry entrusted a committee to study the options and demanded the international community to continue its funding for the country's development and rehabilitation programs due to the country's circumstances, particularly that relieving of the debts would enable the country to receive new loans.

Source: Xinhua
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