Iraq's Odious Debts

Britain to give Iraq $90m in aid

Gulf Daily News

September 1, 2004

Baghdad: Britain yesterday committed £50 million ($90m) in specific bilateral aid projects for war-torn Iraq from a total 544 million package that London has pledged to spend by March 2006.

International Development Secretary Hilary Benn unveiled five new British multi-million pound projects for Iraq at a Baghdad news conference, flanked by Iraqi interim Planning Minister Mehdi Al Hafez.

Some £20.5m will be spent on capacity building for local government in southern Iraq, where some 8,000 British troops are deployed, and 16.5m on job creation and restoring essential services.

Three million pounds will go on supporting central government efforts on economic reform particularly with respect to debt relief, Benn said, dodging a direct question on whether London would forgive any or all its Iraq debt.

“Reaching a solution as far as Iraq’s debts are concerned is going to be an extremely important part of finding the right way to resolve the debt problem,” he said, pointing to the aid package on economic reform without elaborating.

Ten million pounds will be split between a civil society project and another on engage citizens in the political process, ahead of elections scheduled to take place by January 31, 2005.

Yesterday’s commitments bring to £380m, the amount London has earmarked for specific projects in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. 

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