Iraq's Odious Debts

The United Nations’ draft resolution on Iraq

Jubilee Iraq

May 24, 2004
UK-based debt campaigner Jubilee Iraq has highlighted its concerns regarding the release this week of the United Nations’ draft resolution on Iraq, saying a number of the draft’s provisions put to the UN Security Council are relevant to Jubilee Iraq’s work to challenge repayment of Iraq’s odious debt. Citing from the draft, Jubilee Iraq notes:
Paragraph 17
“Further decides that the provision of paragraph 22 of resolution 1483 (2003) shall continue to apply, except that the privileges and immunities provided in that paragraph shall not apply with respect to any claim arising out of an obligation entered into by Iraq after 30 June 2004;”
Jubilee Iraq says 1483 protected Iraqi oil from legal proceedings until December 2007. The revision in 1483 may mean that following a Paris Club restructuring of Saddam’s debt after June 30, the creditors may be able to sieze Iraqi oil to meet their debt payment claims. This is very dangerous.

Paragraph 18
“Welcomes the commitment of creditors, including those of the Paris Club, to identify ways to reduce substantially Iraq’s sovereign debt, urges the international financial institutions and bilateral donors to take immediate steps to provide their full range of loans and other financial assistance to Iraq, recognizes that the Interim Government of Iraq has the authority to conclude and implement such agreements as may be necessary in this regard, and requests creditors, institutions and donors to work as a priority on these matters with the Interim Government of Iraq;”
Jubilee Iraq says it has been warning about this for more than six months. It says the unelected transitional government will sign binding agreements with the Paris Club and other creditors, forcing the future elected government to repay a large part of Saddam Hussein’s odious debt and submit to economic conditions from the IMF in return for receiving partial debt “forgiveness.”

Paragraph 20
“Calls upon all Member States to take appropriate steps within their respective legal systems to stay for a period of 12 months from 30 June 2004 all legal and other similar proceedings before their courts or other tribunals involving claims by or against the State of Iraq, its Government, or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, including its State-owned enterprises or similar bodies;”
Jubilee Iraq says it is unclear how the United Nations Compensation Commission’s reparations claims would be covered by this. If they are covered, says Jubilee, this is the one positive paragraph in the resolution regarding debt and reparations.
To read the United Nation’s draft resolution:¬†

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