Iraq's Odious Debts

Russia to write off half of Iraq debt, minister says
November 29, 2004

Russia will write off half of Iraq’s debt to the country in two stages starting next year, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said. Iraq owes Russia between $700 million to $1 billion and the precise amount is being worked out, he said.

The Russian write-off is part of an agreement by the Paris Club group of 19 creditor governments signed Monday, which decided to forgive Iraq from payment of $31 billion of debt, or about 80 percent of that country’s total debt. Iraq ran up about $125 billion in debt under Saddam Hussein.

The first stage includes writing off penalties that amount to some 30 percent of the Iraqi debt, Kudrin said. The second stage, to begin in late 2005, will include writing off 30 percent of the debt, while 20 percent will be forgiven in 2008l, he said.

“Russia hadn’t charged Iraq with penalties and therefore doesn’t participate in the first stage,” Kudrin said at a press conference today.

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