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Anne Pettifer, founder Jubilee 2000
"Slavery and neo-colonialism"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 19 July, 2000, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
G8 urged to honour debt promise
Family living on the street, Delhi
Housing, schools and health suffer says Jubilee 2000
International pressure group Jubilee 2000 has called on the leaders of the world's richest countries, who are about to meet in Japan, to honour their promises on debt relief for the world's poorest countries.

In 1999 the G8 group of wealthy nations and Russia oannounced a $70bn package of debt relief by the end of 2000 for the 40 poorest nations, or Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs).

A year later, very little of that relief has been delivered.

The glacial pace at which debt relief has been proceeding threatens the whole plan

Phil Twyford, Oxfam
The founder of Jubilee 2000, Anne Pettifer, says the debt cancellation that has been offered by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund has had unacceptable conditions attached.

"The whole point is to free them from this form of slavery and neo colonialism but instead the IMF is grasping the opportunity to reimpose its control over these economies."

President Thabo Mbeki arriving in Japan
South African President Thabo Mbeki has come to Okinawa to lobby the G8 on debt relief
Jubilee 2000, a global coalition of charity groups, was meeting in Okinawa in southern Japan ahead of this week's G8 summit, which is expected to address the issue of poor-nation debt.

"The historic promises made then have been left hanging in the air," said Phil Twyford, of Oxfam International.

"And the glacial pace at which debt relief has been proceeding threatens the whole plan... this summit meeting is a critical chance to get it all back on track."

In contrast to its action on HIPCs the G8 is set to back a rescheduling of Russia's debt which further annoys campaigners.
What Jubilee 2000 wants the G8 to do
Stop payments from the poorest nations now
100% cancellation for the poorest countries this year
New lending and borrowing mechanism

Critics say several nations including Japan - the world's biggest creditor nation - have refused to write off debt because of fears that countries would run up huge debts again or spend the money saved from debt payments on arms.

Cambodian begger
Jubilee 2000 says it is not holding out a begging bowl but campaigning to end poverty
Jubilee 2000 says 13 children die every minute in the 40 poorest nations because money has to be diverted from social services to debt repayments.

African governments spend two-fifths of their revenues on servicing their $350bn foreign debt.

Charlotte Mwesingye of Ugandan Debt Relief said that she hoped Japan, as summit host, could persuade G8 leaders to take concrete steps.

"They have been just passing time with words, and it is not earning them any credit."

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See also:

23 Jun 00 | Africa
Africa presses for debt relief
08 Jun 99 | debt
Q & A: Dropping the debt
12 Apr 00 | Americas
G-77 summit to target wealth gap
22 Dec 99 | Talking Point
Should more countries cancel the debt?
17 Dec 99 | debt
The burden of debt
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