, 2000

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JUNE 21, 1999  4:21 PM
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
Scott Southward (202) 225-1463
Debt Relief: McKinney says The 'Proof Is In The Pudding'
WASHINGTON - June 21 - Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Member of the International Relations Committee, says the commitment to relieve the debt of the world's poorest countries must be met with action, not rhetoric. Congresswoman McKinney applauds the G-8 for bringing this issue to the forefront but notes that substantial progress must be made in order for these nations to achieve sustained growth and independence.

The G-8 agreed to a plan that offers about $70 billion in debt relief to 33 of the world's poorest countries. While this plan will benefit a great number of nations there are still a large number of heavily indebted countries that would benefit very little from this plan. Congresswoman McKinney will be introducing her own debt relief legislation later this week.

"This is a good place to start," says Congresswoman McKinney. "But it's only a start. We have the opportunity to better the lives of millions of people who have been held hostage by the burden of debt. It is in our best interest and the world's best interest to relieve these nations of their debt."

About 700 million people -- the very poorest -- are held in debt bondage by the rich countries. These so-called Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) are a group of 42 financially bankrupt and largely destitute economies. They owe more than $100 billion in unpayable debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, regional development banks and donor governments.

"Relieving the debt burdens of the world's poorest countries is one of the foremost economic, humanitarian, and moral challenges of our time. Debt relief can put countries on the path toward growing economies and growing incomes for their citizens, it can also reduce the likelihood of conflict and the use of force. In addition, providing debt relief can benefit the U.S. economy by stimulating expanded trade and investment ties," concludes Congresswoman McKinney.


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