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France to cancel Sudan’s debt, help clear IMF arrears

IMF likely to begin process by June, UK, US, Norway, Saudi Arabia also agreed to help clear rest of arrears, says Macron

Shweta Desai   | 18.05.2021
France to cancel Sudan’s debt, help clear IMF arrears

PARIS 

France has announced to cancel the debt of $5 billion and earmark another $1.5 billion arrears with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to give relief to Sudan, reeling under the foreign debt.

“We are one of the important creditors... and we are in favor of canceling the full debt of $5 billion that Sudan owes us. This is a real meaning of our support in the transition. France will put every effort to alleviate your foreign debt,

“President Emmanuel Macron announced at a news conference, which he addressed jointly with President of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in Paris.

The measures to help Sudan were decided at an international conference to support Khartoum’s transition.

The IMF is likely to begin the process by June and the UK, US, Norway and Saudi Arabia have also agreed to help clear the rest of the arrears, said the French president.

Hamdok described the announcement as a “watershed milestone” in Sudan’s transition. He noted the clearance of debt with the IMF was the major change signaling the return of Khartoum to the development community.

“With this, the government will be able to create jobs and meet the aspirations of young Sudanese who came on the streets two years ago,” he said.

Last year, the transitional government launched major economic reforms including arrears clearance and exchange-rate unification, required to qualify for debt relief under the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

The assessment of HIPC helped major creditors to forgive most of Sudan’s external debt estimated at $49.8 billion.

Macron lauded the “courageous economic reforms” as well as the political and democratic decisions reaffirming the transition. He said that the signing of the peace agreement in October 2020 and the US removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in December, has helped the international community to mobilize in support for the African country.

Reintegration of Sudan

The French president said it has helped to mark Sudan’s reintegration after nearly 30 years of international isolation.

Macron recalled Sudan’s revolution as “unusual” due to the role played by the women.

“It has put an end for the first time in the region, to the regime using political Islam to cover up its mistakes and divide its people. The Sudanese have shown whether Muslim or not the aspirations to freedom and justice was strong and they cannot be enslaved,” he said reaffirming France’s full support to the success of the transition process.

The French president said while moving ahead there must be “free and transparent elections leading to the installation of the legitimate civilian government” and implementation of the peace agreement.

He said the withdrawal of militias from Libya was necessary for the security of the region and the countries in the north of the Mediterranean as well as for France as well.

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