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Sudan tells United Nations its debts must be cancelled

Khartoum says it needs large-cale assistance to overcome the loss of critical oil revenues

Reuters, Sunday 30 Sep 2012
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Sudan told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that its debts must be cancelled and its economy supported as it struggles to recover from losing three-quarters of its critical oil revenue to South Sudan when it seceded a year ago.

The International Monetary Fund this week urged Sudan to meet donors to discuss debt relief and some IMF board members called for "exceptional efforts" from the IMF and the global community to help Sudan reduce its debt of about $40 billion.
 
"Sudan requires assistance to go through this very sensitive stage towards better horizons. For that we believe that debts must be cancelled and its economy supported," Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti said.
 
South Sudan seceded in July 2011. Leaders from both states finally reached a border security deal on Wednesday to restart badly needed oil exports, but failed to solve the other key conflicts left over from when they split.
 
The pair failed to settle the fate of at least five disputed oil-producing regions along the border. Tensions over the unmarked 1930-kilometre common border spilled over into fighting in April, when South Sudan's army briefly occupied the Heglig oilfield, vital to Sudan's economy.
 
Sudanese calls for a debt amnesty to help their beleagured economy have been echoed by activists in similarly cash-strapped Egypt, which owes more than $34 billion to international lenders. Since last October, the Cairo-based Popular Campaign to Drop Egypt's Debt has battled to gain mass local support for its calls for a moratorium on repayments.
 
The group maintains the bill, run up during ex-president Hosni Mubarak's autocratic reign, should not be the responsibility of the Egyptian people.
 
This article has been edited by Ahram Online
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