GCC and Iraq to discuss Iraq's $40 billion debt
In the coming weeks talks are expected to begin between Iraq and GCC state regarding the $40 billion in debt owed by Iraq, helping to support the country's financial recovery after decades of wars and sanctions.
"We are in the final leg," Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi told reporters, according to Gulf Daily News.
The topic is a highly sensitive one as debt monies primarily funded the Iran-Iraq war.
Many Iraqis feel that the war, which devastated Iraq and its economy, was important in containing Iranian influence following the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and for protecting Gulf regimes.
"I am positive that the talks will be a success and these countries will help us extinguish the debt, which was mostly direct transfers to the Iraqi Central Bank to finance the war with Iran," Allawi added.
Chief economist for the Iraqi Central Bank, Mudhir Salih Kasim, said a debt settlement with the Arab Gulf States would resolve the majority of Iraq's debt problem.
"The Gulf Arabs basically told Iraq during the war with Iran to sacrifice your blood and we pay for it, which was ugly. This money was actually grants, not debt," Kasim said.