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Debt Cancellation Praised By Vatican

Debt Cancellation Praised

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican's semiofficial newspaper applauded the decision by the Group of Eight industrialized nations to cancel the foreign debt of 18 of the world's poorest countries.

Today's Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano reported on the G8 finance ministers meeting in London and recalled that Pope John Paul II presented this "stage" to the international community "as a goal of civilization."

British Treasury chief Gordon Brown announced on Saturday that the G8 agreed to cancel the debt of Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The deal is designed to scrap all of the $40 billion those countries owe to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank.

"The cancellation of the foreign debt of developing countries is no longer a mirage," said L'Osservatore Romano.

The British minister made the announcement at the end of the two-day meeting of the G8's finance and treasury officials.

The conference was held in preparation for a G8 summit July 6-8 in Scotland.
ZE05061207

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