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Minister Rules out Cancelling Iraq Debt

Just two days before the Iraq donors conference in Madrid, Germany’s Minister for Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, has said that Germany is opposed to the cancellation of Iraq's huge debt burden, which is estimated at €110 billion ($128 billion) and called for a new UN resolution that will share out responsibility for reconstruction. Wieczorek-Zeul said that, given Iraq's oil riches, it would be better to have credit financing ahead of the windfall oil revenues will bring to the country. She also added that steps should be taken to prevent the United States from taking control of Iraqi oil revenues, saying profits should be used for reconstruction and not to support U.S. companies. Donor countries and organizations will gather this week to discuss ways of financing Iraq's total reconstruction which the World Bank and the United Nations have estimated at around $36 billion for 2004-2007.