Debt relief double standard for Iraq and Ethiopia, says campaigner

Odious Debts Online

February 20, 2004

A successor to the Jubilee 2000 UK movement has accused the United States government of a “glaring double standard” in its approach to debt relief for Iraq, compared to Ethiopia.

The director of Jubilee Research, one of the official successors to the Jubilee 2000 UK campaign, accused the United States this week of being quick to call for cancellation of Iraq’s odious debts largely because it would cost the U.S. very little and free up Iraqi resources for U.S. projects.

At the same time, the U.S. is blocking debt cancellation for Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, said Ann Pettifor in a brief report published by the Inter Press Service News Agency on Tuesday.

“This is a glaring double standard,” writes Pettifor. “Additional relief for Ethiopia is being delayed and blocked by the United States with the tacit support of Germany and Japan as U.S. and German creditors have gone to great lengths to obtain international legitimacy for the cancellation of Iraq’s debt.”

Pettifor calls for the international community to honour the commitments made to Jubilee 2000 supporters worldwide at the 1999 Group of Eight (G8) summit in Cologne, Germany. Led by Chancellor Schroder, world leaders promised to deepen and broaden debt relief for countries like Ethiopia.

“Above all the hypocrisy of their diverging approaches to Iraq and Ethiopia must be thwarted,” Pettifor said.

Categories: Africa, Ethiopia, Odious Debts

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