UAE waives $7b Iraq debt

ABU DHABI - The UAE yesterday waived Iraq’s debt of nearly $7 billion and also named its ambassador to Baghdad. The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki the UAE has “decided to write off all debts owed by Iraq totalling $4 billion ... plus accrued interest.”

By (AFP, Wam)

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Published: Tue 8 Jul 2008, 1:39 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:06 PM

The announcement was made at the reception given by Shaikh Khalifa to the visiting Iraqi prime minister at Al Bateen Palace.

Present at the meeting were His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

An Emirati official, confirming the decision, told AFP the debt and interest amounted to just under $7 billion.

The UAE cabinet, at its meeting yesterday, approved the appointment of its current ambassador to India, Abdullah Ibrahim Al Shehhi, as its ambassador to Iraq,” the official said. “The Iraqi government has already approved the nomination.”

The UAE withdrew its most senior diplomat - a charge d’affaires - from Baghdad in May 2006 after another diplomat was kidnapped by militants and held for two weeks.

The UAE hopes that its decision to cancel Iraq’s debt “will help alleviate the economic burdens endured by the brotherly Iraqi people,” and is meant to “help the Iraqi government implement reconstruction plans and rehabilitate institutions and facilities,” Shaikh Khalifa told Maliki.

The UAE will not hesitate to “provide all kinds of financial and moral aid” to Iraq, he said. Shaikh Khalifa said the UAE’s decision to reopen its embassy in Baghdad underlined its belief in “the importance of Iraq’s interaction with its Arab environment.”

Shaikh Khalifa said the UAE’s decision to write off the Iraqi debt was “genuine expression of brotherhood and solidarity between the two countries. It is also an effort to assist Iraq to execute reconstruction projects and rehabilitation of institutions." Shaikh Khalifa noted that “the restoration of security in Iraq is the cornerstone in rehabilitation and resumption of its active regional and international roles," adding that there was a need to assist Iraq to achieve those goals, citing that the UAE has decided to re-open its embassy in Baghdad.

He referred to the relative improvement in security in Iraq, saying that it will help speed up political process in the country. He called on Iraqi people and political spectrums to back their legitimate government and eschew sectarian violence.

The Iraqi prime minister, expressed his gratitude for the UAE initiative, saying that “it reflects the fraternity between the peoples of two countries.

The UAE’s decision to write off the debts will enhance the credit position of Iraqi economy and spur restoration of security and stability". The two leaders discussed the situation in Iraq and the efforts being exerted by the Iraqi authorities to restore security and stability there. They also tackled the regional issues and Iranian nuclear standoff. -

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