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Sinn Féin MEPs call for cancellation of developing world debt

14 January, 2005

Sinn Féin MEPs Mary Lou McDonald and Bairbre de Brún have voted in favour of a European Parliament resolution calling for the cancellation of developing world debt. The motion was proposed by the GUE/NGL group. The resolution comes in the wake of the reduction of Iraqi debt.

Speaking this morning Ms McDonald said:

"Four years ago the Jubilee 2000 petition calling for the cancellation of developing world debt was signed by 24 million people world wide.

"Last year the Africa Social Forum in Lusaka called for the cancellation of 100% of the debt of developing countries.

"The continued burden of servicing debt is actively preventing many countries from countering the devastating impact of poverty, disease, post-conflict reconstruction and development of much needed infrastructure, economic development and public service provision.

"To date the response of the major powers within the international community has been wholly inadequate. In 2003 low-income countries paid $39 billion in servicing their debt. In the same year the same countries received only $27 billion in aid. Such a situation is ludicrous.

"Sinn Féin has long called for the cancellation of developing world debt. Today we are calling on the European Commission and the Member States to pursue an active and coordinated policy, both within multilateral institutions and on a bilateral basis, for the full cancellation of the foreign debt of all developing countries.

"We also believe that the target of 0.7% of GNP for development aid must be met as soon as possible in order to attain the Millennium Development Goals. The Irish government must reconsider its position on this matter and honour its previous commitment to meet this target.

"In addition Sinn Féin believes that the policies of deregulating and liberalising the economies of indebted developing countries, as promoted by the World Trade Organisation, adversely affect the economies of those countries.

"Any future economic partnership agreements, including the EU-African Caribbean and Pacific free trade agreement, must be linked to the cancellation of foreign debt, if these trends are to be reversed." ENDS

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