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Wednesday, December 22, 1999, updated at 09:21(GMT+8)
Business Britain Promises to Write Off Third World Debt

The British government promised on December 21 to write off 5 billion pounds (about 8 billion US dollars) in debt owed to Britain by the world's 41 poorest nations.

Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown said the debt relief plan would only apply to countries promising to use the money to relieve poverty.

The announcement was made at a Downing Street seminar called to try to kick-start an agreement signed last autumn by the world's wealthiest countries to write off Third World debt.

The government's immediate target is that 25 countries will have benefited from debt forgiveness by Britain by the end of 2000.

The first countries likely to benefit from the British move are expected to include Uganda, Mozambique, Bolivia and Mauritania.

In June the Group of Seven (G7) major powers at their Cologne summit decided to write off about one-third of all the loans owed by the world's poorest countries. (Xinhua)

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