UAE to forgive Iraqi debts
Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan announced on Monday that the UAE will forgive AED21.3 billion ($5.8 billion) in Iraqi debts saying, “An agreement will be signed soon to lay out the legal framework for waiving old Iraqi debt of $5.8 billion.” The announcement was following the conclusion of a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari. The debt dates back to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. In 2008, the UAE also cancelled $7 billion in debt from the Saddam Hussein era.
Minister Zebari thanked the UAE for cancelling the debt, which he described as “a very heavy burden” on Iraq. He said, “The relations between the two states did not stop [since the US invasion], but today we started the official framework of cooperation.” The debt consists of a combination of loans and grants.
The two foreign ministers also expressed their intention to cooperate on the issues of Syria and Iran. Iraq also thanked the UAE for supporting the decision to hold the next Arab summit in Iraq. Sheikh Abdullah said regarding the summit, “We Arabs should make sure the next summit will be a step forward, and at the same time keep Iraq’s right to host an Arab summit.” A date for the summit has not yet been announced.
Trade between the UAE and Iraq amounted to over $4.5 billion in 2011. (Source: english.nuqudy.com)