Cablegate: Paris Club - June 2005 Tour D'horizon
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 21 PARIS 004901
STATE FOR EB/IFD/OMA
TREASURY FOR DO/IDD AND OUSED/IMF
SECDEF FOR USDP/DSAA
PASS EXIM FOR CLAIMS -- EDELARIVA
PASS USDA FOR CCC -- ALEUNG/DERICKSON/KCHADWICK
PASS USAID FOR CLAIMS
PASS DOD FOR DSCS -- PBERG
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIN ECON EAID XM XA XH XB XF FR
SUBJECT: PARIS CLUB - JUNE 2005 TOUR D'HORIZON
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION
1. (U) Following are summaries of country discussions during the
June 15, 2005 Paris Club session. Country negotiations will be
reported septels. The Paris Club's President, Jean-Pierre
Jouyet, chaired the session. Secretary General (SecGen) Emmanuel
Moulin represented the Secretariat. The next session of the
Paris Club is a special meeting to discuss Nigeria scheduled for
June 29, 2005.
2. (U) NOTE: INDIVIDUAL CREDITOR POSITIONS REPORTED IN THIS
MESSAGE SHOULD BE TREATED AS "PARIS CLUB CONFIDENTIAL" AND
NOT/NOT DISCUSSED WITH DEBTOR COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVES, NOR WITH
NON-PARIS CLUB PARTICIPANTS.
3. (SBU) Discussed in this session:
Afghanistan -- IMF update / bilateral agreement
Algeria - report from Secretariat / bilateral agreement
Angola - report from the Secretariat (Brazil)
Argentina -- Upcoming negotiation (Israel)
Burundi -- IMF update / decision point
China -- possible accession
Dominican Republic -- comparability of treatment
Grenada -- IMF update
Indonesia -- MoU, bilateral agreements
Iraq -- IMF update / bilateral negotiations
Malawi-- IMF update
Nigeria -- treatment proposal
Paraguay -- review of arrears (Belgium)
Peru -- prepayment proposal signing
Russia -- debt prepayment / bilateral agreement (France)
Sao Tome and Principe -- IMF update / financing assurances
Serbia and Montenegro -- IMF update / second phase of the AM
Sri Lanka -- MoU signing
Zimbabwe -- arrears
Additional bilateral debt relief beyond HIPC
Status of Brazil
4. (U) ACTION/FOLLOW-UP/UPCOMING ITEMS
June 29 special meeting--Nigeria proposal
5. (SBU) The IMF reported a request to extend the SMP in
Afghanistan until March 2006. Preparation for a PRSP is underway
and the IMF would be open to a clear discussion of a PRGF if the
authorities request. The GOA has performed strongly under the
current SMP, meeting all benchmarks except reconciliation of
external debt. The macroeconomic outlook for the near future is
favorable. The principal challenge is increased spending
pressure. The GOA has had difficulty in contacting creditors and
may ask the IMF for help in contacting non-PC creditors.
6. (SBU) The IBRD added that the security situation is degrading
especially in light of approaching September elections. Half of
the funding to the GOA is in performance grants. There is also a
reconstruction trust fund, which has received $850 million from
donors in three years. From these funds, the IBRD has dispersed
$235 million for the GOA operating budget.
7. (SBU) Russia reported that the progress on bilateral debt
resolution with Afghanistan has been difficult due to mistrust
between accounting agencies. Russia is the largest creditor to
Afghanistan. The GOR hopes to resolve the issue by the end of
2005. While the problem is mainly bilateral, Russia prefers to
use the Paris Club channel and its standard procedures. On the
subject of debt treatment for the GOA, the situation is far from
1997 methodology. Germany remarked that it is in favor of an IMF
accord but would need a stronger basis. The GOG proposed further
Paris Club negotiation in due time.
8. (SBU) On Algeria/Russia relations, a bilateral accord calls
for the reimbursement of Algerian debt to Russia beyond the 10%
debt swap ceiling. The Secretariat emphasized the importance of
a buyback at market values: Algeria should not anticipate which
creditors would participate in a buyback before confirming the
9. (SBU) Brazil had been invited to talk about its loans to the
GOA, but was not present. The IMF reported that discussions on a
SMP resumed in April. The framework has been established but no
agreement has yet been produced, although negotiations are still
open. A delegation may go to Washington, D.C. in July to
continue this process. The IBRD noted that it expects to
conclude details of a PRSP in July. The agency has monitored
transparency in accounts and public resource management. Other
SMP preparatory actions include workshops on oil revenue
management. The IBRD will translate the finance account review
with a wide distribution to take place in August.
10. (SBU) The Secretariat reported that it only had vague
information on the Brazilian loan to Angola. It also clarified
that the credit from Israel in 2003 was private. Denmark asked if
the Secretariat intended to make a data call. The Secretariat
has encouraged Angola to seek an accord with the IMF.
11. (SBU) Belgium asserted that current Angolan policies are all
based on oil/petroleum. Germany stated that Angolan action to
get new money (such as financing for oil projects) is positive,
as it stabilizes the financial situation and thus the ability to
pay off debt. This action is therefore not against PC rules and
is moreover the decision of the country. Spain added that new
loans might help the GOA, making it less dependant on the PC.
However, loans and bilateral agreements would decrease the
incentive to go to IMF for a SMP. Thus, the PC creditors should
grant debt relief on the basis of an IMF SMP. Spain
characterized the current situation as an unstable equilibrium,
mixing international and bilateral aid.
12. (SBU) The IMF reported an extension of $1.5 billion to the
GOA. Discussions on Argentina will resume after an Article IV
review on June 22, after which the IMF will decide what program
should go forward. The IMF is not conducting a program
negotiation but rather a forecast consultation. The IBRD noted
that Argentina should be processed under a streamlined method for
IBRD loans but GOA economic programs have produced concerns. As
a result, examination of programs continues on a case-by-case
basis. The World Bank reported that Argentina continues to make
net repayments to the IBRD with a recent payment of $400 million.
The GOA is facing $17 billion in arbitration claims, largely
before ICSID. Some members of the GOA have argued that
arbitration awards against Argentina are unconstitutional unless
the Argentine courts review them and approve that they are
consistent with public policy.
13. (SBU) The Secretariat stated that the scenario presented by
the GOA (including a cancellation of arrears) is unrealistic.
The scenario shows a currently unsupportable debt burden and
plans to reduce debt to zero in 2009. Overall, there is a gap
between the views of the IMF staff and the Argentine authorities.
The GOA does not share IMF staff views of policy impacts and
14. (SBU) The Italian delegation had a question on the place of
holdouts and requested hard data on a forward-looking strategy.
15. (SBU) The IMF reported on a mission visit during mid-May.
The mission found fiscal programs to be on track under the PRSP
and Cologne methodology. A financial gap exists due to the
demobilization. A decision point document will be issued July
13. The IBRD had nothing to add and so the Secretariat opined
that the decision point would be reached.
16. (SBU) The Secretariat noted that the Paris Club cannot ignore
China and must consider PC/China relations.
17. (SBU) The IMF reported a Mission visited the DR for the first
review and to discuss the Stand-By and Article IV. Talks
continued in DC on fiscal policy and structural reforms. The
authorities are committed to implementing their program, and are
moving along at a reasonable pace on their external financing
strategy. The GoDR is considering re-opening the bond exchange,
despite the already high participation rate, to reduce their debt
by another USD 14 million. Negotiations with non-Paris Club
creditors are advancing. The IBRD said its Board had discussed a
new country assistance strategy on May 9.
18. (SBU) The Secretariat said bilateral agreements awaiting
signatures include France, Japan, Germany, and the USA, so the
GoDR wants an extension. Those creditors all reported good
progress in their bilateral agreements, although Japan asked the
Secretariat to remind the GoDR about 2.7 million USD arrears
which had accrued as of May 20. The Secretariat reported that on
comparability of treatment (CoT), the London Club and the GoDR
the day before had signed an agreement. The Secretariat
presented a working paper in which it concluded that CoT is being
met, and noted that debt reduction may not be needed for 2006-7
because the GoDR is close to eliminating its financing gaps. The
President noted the consensus to grant an extension until August
30, with a target date of September for the negotiation on debt
rescheduling for payments due in 2005.
19. (SBU) The President noted significant arrears, totaling USD
27 million, to countries including Belgium, France, USA, UK, and
the Netherlands. The IMF reported that GoG authorities say they
are continuing talks with private creditors and with donors. An
Article IV discussion is set for the Board on July 13. The GoG
is eager to cooperate, but has not advanced very far. The IBRD
reported its programs in Grenada are on track. Russia noted one
claim not included in the data call, and the USDEL promised to
double-check its figures as well.
20. (SBU) The Paris Club discussed the progress on a MoU for
Indonesia. The IMF informed the PC of ongoing Article IV and
past program monitoring. The May staff report will highlight
fiscal banking practices and post-tsunami reconstruction efforts
as well as coordination of relief. The IBRD added that
reconstruction agency and a $500 million trust fund are
supporting Indonesian relief efforts. An IBRD update is in
process and should be out by the week of June 20.
21. (SBU) Earlier bilateral issues included outstanding financial
obligation to Germany and the UK - both situations were
bilaterally resolved before the June Tour d'Horizon. The US
announced that it had signed a bilateral agreement with
Indonesia. Finland noted that it has not signed a bilateral with
the GOI, but the MoU would not cover the sums involved. Japan
noted for the record that as a small creditor, it sees no problem
with the terms of the MoU.
22. (SBU) The IMF reported that it had concluded discussions with
Iraq, marking the first Article IV consultation with the nation
in twenty-five years. The IMF views this as an important step in
normalizing Iraqi relations with the international community.
Although there are some delays on structural reforms, the
macroeconomic situation is under control. The IMF also noted
that the Iraqi Finance minister would like reforms. Iraq is
generally on track with its EPCA reforms. Progress had been made
in contacting PC and non-PC creditors. The authorities request
an extension to sign bilateral agreements.
23. (SBU) The PC Secretariat announced that it is in contact with
the Iraqi cabinet. The GOI has made progress since February,
contacting non-PC creditors (48 states) based on new accords.
The Secretariat provided an update on the bilateral agreements of
these non-PC creditors with Iraq. Although Italy requested that
the list be distributed, the confidential nature does not allow
the PC to provide a copy of this list.
-- Malta announced $7 million in credit to Iraq
-- Argentina has small claims
-- Greece presents a more problematic case as the military
credits involved are subject to a 2003 decision
-- China does not recognize Iraqi authority
-- The Secretariat must verify Libyan credits--contact with the
-- Bosnia, Croatia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Lithuania do not have
sovereign debt. No contact has been established with Bosnia and
Croatia. The Czech Republic is an important creditor, but the
GOC has not yet declared its claims. The PC also does not have
information for the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, etc).
-- The Maghreb (North African former French colonies) countries
have no clear interlocutor, and Egypt prefers direct contact with
the GOI instead of the PC channel.
-- Vietnam is a particular case as it is both a creditor and a
debtor to Iraq.
The Secretariat reiterated that it has offered its assistance in
establishing bilateral contacts.
24. (SBU) Spain addressed the interpretation of the AM, reminding
members that the Paris Club had agreed that a letter to the GOI
(sent in May) should be interpreted according to the spirit in
which it was written. Spain requested that this previous
consensus should be specified.
25. (SBU) The Secretariat noted positive developments in Malawi's
debt sustainability. In September 2004, the authorities
requested a SMP. The GOM has made satisfactory progress,
tightening fiscal spending and implementing structural reforms.
The IMF is requesting a retroactive extension in order to
continue a PRGF with Malawi. (Note: The PRGF expired in December
2004 after only one review due to inadequate implementation. End
note.) The IMF proposed the Paris Club send a letter to the Board
for this extension.
26. (SBU) The IMF began to negotiate a potential PRGF in February
2005, and with creditors' approval will present this plan to the
Board in July. The program would require fiscal efforts to
reduce domestic debt (after a 25% crop failure) as well as
modifications to the 2005-2006 budget & pension systems. Once
approved, the PRGF could be started in 2006 for three years.
Malawi only has small amount debt to the IBRD.
27. (SBU) The IMF staff report on Nigeria will be issued in July.
Concerning Nigerian macroeconomic policy, the IMF found that an
appropriate act was signed in April, relaxing fiscal policy and
minimizing risk for the GON. This act contains measures to
contain fiscal spending and maintains a monetary policy
consistent with 7-9% inflation. The most recent Article IV
consultation and DSA found Nigerian debt to be sustainable at
current oil prices but vulnerable to an oil price shock. The
Secretariat stated that with Nigeria on the reform path, the PC
could either let the country go its own way, or recognize the
current problems with the status quo and give assistance.
28. (SBU) The GON has expressed a desire for a non-financial
arrangement with the IMF. The new instrument proposed is a PSI
(policy support instrument). This tool is not yet approved and
will be considered by the IMF executive board on July 6 (note:
the IMF subsequently pushed back the date, as yet unspecified).
The PSI was also submitted last year for another country but not
accepted at that time. This tool is designed to aid countries
without financial need that would welcome an assessment of their
policy and budget by the IMF. . The program would entail an IMF
endorsement and monitoring of programs designed by authorities.
29. (SBU) The IBRD clarified that Nigeria has been reclassified
under IDA classifications: the country fits the criteria of low
GDP per capita, yet is not eligible for IDA grants (under Article
14). Moreover, Nigeria does not have an international credit
rating from a major international institution. The IBRD reported
the presentation of a new country assistance strategy to the
Board June 26 by UK Aid (DFID) and IBRD staff.
30. (SBU) The Secretariat announced the structure of principal PC
claims on Nigeria: the UK is the principal creditor (26%),
followed by France (21%), Germany (18%).and the US (3%). The
current repayment profile (as of Dec 2000) shows debt
unsustainability until 2019, with debt then stabilized around $2
billion. Following a positive evolution in Nigerian finances,
the GON has submitted an informal proposal to use oil windfalls
to fund an exit treatment. Oil revenues would cover a buyback of
Paris Club debt at a 75% discount. The Secretariat stated that
the political context for such a proposal is favorable; with a
Presidential election in 2007, current internal polarization on
debt, and an ambitious reform team taking on structural and
economic reforms in place since 2003. Also, the GON has made
efforts to normalize relations with PC by means of allocation
payments and increased transparency. Overall, the proposal is
subject to a unique and short window of opportunity because of
possible changes in oil prices, pressure on the finance minister
and upcoming elections. The Secretariat asserted that there is
no alternative solution in normal Paris Club treatment options.
However, elements of the Nigerian proposal conflict with PC
rules. First, the PC cannot offer a buyback, as Nigeria is not a
graduate of Paris Club treatment and is in partial default.
Nigeria has not been eligible for HIPC or Naples terms.
Accepting the current proposal would provide no incentive for the
GON to implement good long-term policies. Secondly, the level of
discount is not justifiable. It should be set according to market
prices. Nigeria has been reclassified as IDA-only, making it
eligible for Naples terms. The Secretariat suggested a Naples
stock treatment. Statistics provided by the Secretariat showed
that faced with a permanent petroleum shock, the GON debt ratio
would be unsustainable from 2018. Even with a 67% debt reduction
on PC claims, debt unsustainability would only be pushed back to
2025. A treatment of Nigeria would also provide an opportunity
to meet MDG.
31. (SBU) The Secretariat noted that the current debt situation
of Nigeria is highly vulnerable; even prudent country-specific
scenario shows probable debt unsustainability. Under its
proposal, the GON would repay all arrears given a substantial
debt reduction. This repayment would occur immediately with
creditors receiving 40% claims in cash over six months (USD 4.48
billion). A possible architecture for this offer includes:
-- Signing a PSI with the IMF;
-- Clearing of all arrears plus late interest (USD 5.8 billion)
by Nigeria, plus payment of "leveling up" obligations to eligible
creditors (USD 1.75 billion);
-- After successful review under the PSI at six months, payment
by Nigeria of its Post-COD debt at par and ($367 million) and
delivery by the Paris Club of a second phase of debt reduction
equal to 37 percent of the outstanding debt stock;
-- Buyback by Nigeria of the balance of debt owed to creditors at
a 41% discount;
-- Total payments by Nigeria would amount to $12.4 billion under
32. (SBU) The proposed PC treatment of Nigerian debt depends on
the imminent creation by IMF of a new monitoring instrument
(PSI). The Secretariat noted that a PSI as a basis for a debt
treatment is a significant move for the PC. However, the
Secretariat also noted that a PSI would be strong on
conditionality (like a SBA or a PRGF).
33. (SBU) The UK supported the proposal with IMF help, viewing it
as a way to move forward and signal support of the GON. There
would be gains for all: Nigeria would receive debt relief and
creditors would receive cash payments within 6 months. The PC
proposal is a fair, sustainable solution.
34. (SBU) The USDEL argued that the plan constituted a major
advance; Nigerian acceptance of a serious monitoring arrangement
with the IMF implied serious continued commitment to reform
efforts and removed a major obstacle to being able to agree to a
debt deal. In the US view, the Secretariat's presentation had
adequately addressed issues of precedent and principle presented
by the notion of a debt workout for Nigeria, and the US was
exploring ways to enable its participation in such a deal. .
35. (SBU) Germany announced that it would go along with the
proposal but has some reservations. The proposal represents new
ground and must be approached carefully with further IMF
exploration. Germany reminded the PC members that for all
previous arrangements with Nigeria (2000 arrangement as the most
recent), Nigeria had never drawn credits. A point of
comparability (CoT) was highlighted, noting that the private
sector would notice this charitable move. The GOG's final
position is to accept the plan only if the GON accepts it.
36. (SBU) Italy subscribed totally to the Secretariat's proposal,
as it treats both economic and political issues. The PC
creditors should take this opportunity to be reimbursed or the
oil windfalls will be spent domestically. The GOI acknowledged
the unknown element of a PSI but suggested that it be subject to
evaluation in future, after being monitored in action. Overall,
accepting the request from Nigeria would show the capability of
the PC to aid large countries.
37. (SBU) Spain welcomed a flexible, pragmatic solution but had
doubts about this proposal. The Spanish delegation questioned
the 40% figure and the contradictory package of debt relief with
a buyback. Other Spanish concerns related to the rapid timetable
of the proposal. Spain was concerned that rapid action might
convey that the PC can be subject to debtor time constraints and
that this timetable was generally unrealistic in comparison to
Russian and Peruvian buyback proposal implementation time. The
GOS could not take a position and requested a working paper to
study. Denmark shared the Spanish point of view, suggesting a
38. (SBU) The Netherlands reacted negatively against the
proposal, stating that the creditability of PC and its process
was at stake. Such action by the PC might hurt the private
sector. The Netherlands declared that it would be difficult to
accept the proposal, as it was never formally approached and had
no mandate to accept one without profound explanation. The
Netherlands criticized the G-7 members of the PC for excluding
the rest of the club from the preliminary Nigeria discussion,
stating that this is the second incident of G-7 members working
on a PC issue without all PC members' participation. The
importance of transparency in PC practices was asserted.
39. (SBU) Austria remarked that the proposal was a political
decision that could change the PC underpinnings. The Austrian
delegation also expressed doubts that Nigeria could now offer USD
12 billion when previous offers did not surpass USD 1 billion.
Time concerns were also voiced, with Austria suggesting that a
mandate in July would be premature.
40. (SBU) Australia clarified that it was not a Nigerian creditor
but had interests in the procedure and nature of proposal as a
small creditor in the Paris Club. The delegation drew parallels
between Indonesia and Nigeria, highlighting that Indonesia is
important to Australia. As a non-G-7 member, Australia echoed
the criticism of the Netherlands, saying that the PC is not a two-
track process - the non-G-7 countries are not there to rubber
stamp G-7 proposals. Australia proposed a working paper treating
possible changes to the PC structure, including ad-hoc
ministerial meetings and a politicization of the PC and debt
relief. Australia also cited the hybrid nature of the proposal
(debt treatment and buyback) and asked why the Evian approach was
not considered. The only justification Australian perceived for
the proposal seemed to be the current oil prices.
41. (SBU) Norway and Sweden echoed the concerns of Australia.
Norway expressed doubts that the proposal would be in line with
the Evian approach. The Norwegian delegation also cautioned the
PC against using a new combination, especially an exit treatment
for country that never "entered". Sweden asserted that the
proposal was highly political and the situation held the same
problems as that of Iraq.
42. (SBU) Switzerland asked if solid economic analysis existed
for the proposal, or if it was purely political. The delegation
suggested an analysis of the IMF's PSI and a projection of
buyback conditions. Switzerland also requested a working paper
with market reference rates.
43. (SBU) Belgium noted that it favors a constructive solution
but would need a precision on conditionality as well as the
statute and role of a PSI. The Belgian delegation asserted that
it favors CoT regarding third parties and stated that the PC
should look at different categories of debt and the risk of
precedent in this case.
44. (SBU) Canada stated that while it is not involved with
Nigeria, it supports this proposal because Nigeria is the key to
success in Africa. While Canada recognized the concerns of other
members, it defended the adoption of an appropriately designed
PSI tool. Canada saw no problem in granting a debt treatment to
45. (SBU) Russia and Finland both stated that the case is
complicated and may need further consideration. Russia announced
its supports the idea because the package makes sense.
46. (SBU) France recognized that this proposal would be crucial
for population stability in Nigeria and the surrounding region.
PC action in this country could be a way to achieve Millennium
objectives. However, the French advocated an equitable solution
in line with the PC rules. The proposed Nigeria debt treatment
would be the worst solution due to a risk of precedent. The
French delegation mentioned the possibility of also using Naples
terms in Yemen because of liquidity there.
47. (SBU) The Secretariat noted the questions and disagreeable
aspects of the proposal and confirmed the importance of PC
credibility. Moulin expressed his personal point of view that
the form and substance of a plan are both essential. However, in
this case the opportunity should be seized with content taking
precedence over form. In order to reach a consensus later, the
President directed the Secretariat to prepare a working paper and
scheduled a special meeting on Nigeria for June 29.
48. (SBU) The IMF reported it had concluded its fourth review on
March 28. A mission visited in April for the fifth review. It
has no information about arrears. Belgium said it had asked for
Paraguay to be put on the agenda because it has not paid late
interest. After reaching an accord to split the difference,
Belgium still has not been paid. Germany said Paraguay had had
some arrears, but they were cleared. France reported it had had
arguments about late interest too, but finally had been paid.
The President directed the Secretariat to prepare a letter on the
49. (SBU) The GOP submitted a proposal regarding the
reimbursement of all non-ODA maturities from 2005-2009. Both the
IMF and the IBRD supported the proposal. The IBRD believed it
would be a good move for external debt management and fiscal
control. The Secretariat added that the accord is unique; if
accepted, it could consolidate the 1993 accord and offer creditor
countries up to up to $2 billion. Japan asked to insert the
words, "when necessary" under Article IV-1 as a signing
condition. Spain was still waiting on the word of the
appropriate minister to sign. The Secretariat decided to wait to
send the letter.
50. (SBU) On the offer of debt prepayment, the Secretariat
described 2 options: signing a bilateral letter of implementation
and the payment of the first installment (35.3%) on July 15, or
setting August 20 as the date to sign the letter and pay (35.5% +
x%). The Secretariat noted that the decision to participate had
to be taken at this meeting.
51. (SBU) Regarding bilateral debt issues between France and
Russia, a standard letter was prepared in English, with the
French version to be signed later. Italy commented that the GOI
would not sign this letter; it should be addressed only to the
GOF and GOR.
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
52. (SBU) The IMF reported on the June 2 change in government.
It has put the PRGF on hold until the new government commits to
it. The new Prime Minister is a former central bank governor,
which gives the IMF reason for optimism. It is worried about
wage increases larger than agreed. The World Bank said its Board
discusses a new country assistance strategy on May 21. USD 10
million was made available for budget support. The main issue
precipitating the change in government was the lack of
transparency in the bids for the offshore oil blocks. The UNDP
has asked that the contracts be reviewed. The World Bank has
offered its assistance. The Secretariat reported it has offered
to meet the new government officials in Paris.
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
53. (SBU) The IMF reported its arrangement was to expire in May
2005, so it granted an extension until December 31, 2005 to allow
time to complete its review. The Board meeting is set for June
29. The fifth review, as a result, will not be the last review.
A sixth review will take place for the July-November period. The
authorities claim to have cleared arrears to Russia, but have not
completed their bilateral agreements with Italy and Japan, and
are requesting a suspension of 60 percent of their interest
54. (SBU) The World Bank reported that structural reforms have
progressed. When Serbia rejoined the Bank, it came in with an
exceptional IDA allocation. The Bank expects IBRD lending to
begin again as Serbia rebuilds its creditworthiness.
55. (SBU) The Secretariat noted the situation is now different
than when it earlier rejected an extension request, as the IMF
has granted an extension. It now favors a Paris Club extension,
as the capitalization of late interest is critical to the success
of the IMF program.
56. (SBU) Germany supported the extension request. Japan
expressed some discomfort, as officials just asked the Japanese
Cabinet for approval of the bilateral agreement, and now will
need to return to the Cabinet to approve the extension. Italy
said it is finalizing its bilateral agreement, and is OK with an
extension. Russia said Serbia has managed to pay the bulk of its
arrears (except for USD 30 thousand, which does not present an
obstacle to the extension), but it will need technical approval
before it can sign off on the extension. Other creditors agreed
to the extension, but Austria raised a point that the figures are
off, which the Secretariat confirmed is due to a data split
between Serbia and Montenegro. Sweden inquired about the
resulting date of debt reduction, and the Secretariat replied
that the date should not be the original date in the agreed
minute (AM), but the date that they comply with the terms in the
AM to simplify calculations. The President noted the consensus
to hold off on the extension request until all creditors could
agree to it, and the Secretariat noted that it could wait to send
a letter but would need to send it before the AM terms expire.
57. (SBU) The GOSL signed the MoU, thanking the PC creditors for
their assistance. The accord is designed to help SL get over the
tsunami disaster, providing the GOSL with a margin of maneuver
for its own reconstruction. The GOSL stated that a special
committee has been created for post-tsunami reconstruction
development. The committee is committed to practical and
efficient use of monetary assistance.
58. (SBU) The IMF reported that the economic and policy
performance of the GOZ had worsened, especially since the last
election. Problems include water/power cuts and security
concerns. The concern is that without action, further
deterioration will occur. Currently, near term structural reform
seems difficult. Under an Article IV consultation, the IMF will
proceed with a review of obligations and address the complaints
about Zimbabwe actions at its August 1 staff meeting. The IBRD
added that expulsion by IMF automatically entails exclusion by
the WB in a delay of 2-3 months.
59. (SBU) The Secretariat informed the PC that the Zimbabwean
Ministry of Finance had seized the Secretariat (???). The GOZ
was contesting seizure by the Bank of Tokyo. A letter to Zimbabwe
was proposed and then defeated, as the Secretariat is not in the
process of negotiation with GOZ. Germany stated that action to
recover loans was being carried out by a private bank (KFW) and
not the GOG. (KFW is not a public bank but an export finance
institution. Germany added that a judicial case to press for
repayment is the legal right of creditor. The Netherlands
concurred that a creditor should use all legal means for
recuperation of credits.
ADDITIONAL DEBT RELIEF BEYOND HIPCS:
60. (SBU) The President noted current efforts to provide greater
levels of debt relief, and discussed the Working Paper prepared
by the Secretariat canvassing current practices. The IMF had no
comment on the substance, but did note its desire to use the data
for its own progress report. The Secretariat presented its
Working Paper, outlining various options.
61. (SBU) Norway said it has supported the German proposal, but
with the caveat that relief not address old debt. It still
strongly supports additional relief. If the IFIs can cancel
concessional claims, countries should do so too.
62. (SBU) Russia said it would make its position known in July.
Switzerland said it had no instructions, but probably would
support additional relief. The Netherlands said it would not
change its position. The Paris Club does not touch commercial
debts, and should not play with cutoff dates, but France and
Germany can change their domestic legislation to provide
additional relief if that is what they desire. Belgium
concurred. The Netherlands is in favor of additional debt relief
if needed from a sustainability point of view. Sweden was
reluctant to give a guarantee of support without a proposal in
writing. The Swedish delegation also added that the PC should
treat each country according to its needs and move each cut-off
date case-by-case. Sweden would be in favor of relief beyond
Cologne terms if necessary, but would find it difficult to act
retroactively, as it does not want to send back payments.
63. (SBU) Spain agreed to make additional efforts for bilateral
debt relief, but questioned the applicability of this proposal to
multilateral debt relief. Spain requested a working paper and
debate on the subject of multilateral debt relief. Germany noted
that after preliminary discussions, a consensus would be
difficult to achieve, but the GOG hoped that the PC would reach
an agreement. Germany added that the proposition is in the
spirit of Cologne terms and clarified that the debate had only
centered on non-ODA countries.
64. (SBU) The UK and Finland are in favor of the proposal, which
demonstrates increased generosity. Denmark, Italy and Austria
are already using this policy and support the PC use of it.
Canada had already forgiven eligible HIPC debt and agreed with
the proposal terms. Japan would also agree to 100% cancellation
of ODA debt and even cancel 100% non-ODA pre-CoD. The USDEL also
fully supported the measure, but suggested that the Secretariat
provide a matrix in response to the data call.
65. (SBU) The Secretariat clarified that this initiative would
not be included in the Agreed Minutes but instead would be put
into practice bilaterally. The President noted the consensus to
continue the discussion regarding multilateral debt relief and
problems with the current bilateral proposal at a later date.
66. (SBU) The Secretariat reviewed its findings that no creditor
finances breakage costs directly. The Secretariat noted the risk
that if clauses for breakage costs are included, this creates the
risk of not being able to de prepayments at par, which would mean
only buybacks are possible. As seen from the recent Russian
negotiation, that creates political problems, and unduly limits
the Paris Club.
67. (SBU) Switzerland stated that breakage costs could deter a
creditor from participation, suggesting that negotiation of
bilateral accords outside the PC would better accommodate this
idea. The idea of incorporating breakage costs is not in a PC
agreement, but could possibly be a useful tool.
68. (SBU) Belgium suggested the refinancing of accords outside
the PC, consolidating them in this way. The Belgian delegation
also insisted on the voluntary nature of creditor participation
in agreements, stating that no creditor should be forced to
participate in a buyback or prepayment.
69. (SBU) Austria and Germany were opposed to the idea of
introducing breakage costs clauses. Germany noted that this
clause would reduce refinancing by governments/government
agencies. Moreover, a prepayment would not work if breakage
costs were attached to the agreement. Germany added that adding
breakage costs is a commercial bank practice, not a government
IDA-ADMINISTERED EU LOANS
70. (SBU) The Secretariat offered to prepare a paper on the
subject and circulate it in July or September. The Secretariat
also announced that it could work with the European Commission.
The total debt equaled 59.56 million euros as of December 31,
2004). The President said the question is what to do with
debtors that have already reached completion point, and suggested
a letter of cancellation might be best.
71. (SBU) The IBRD reviewed its credit administration program,
which operates outside of the IDA envelope. The IBRD reminded PC
members that the program is still administered according to
original guidelines but the IBRD is open to suggestions. PC
members were advised to instruct the IDA administration on how to
carry out debt cancellations and what do between decision and
completion points. It also asked for PC input on dealings with
countries that have passed the completion point before or have
continuing multilateral debt. The goal of the program has been
to regularize situation post-completion point. The current
operation involves semi-annual payments (1 May, 1 November),
which are converted in currency proportionate to the principal as
well as a service charge of 0.75% (which becomes IBRD income).
72. (SBU) Denmark argued for the simplest procedure possible.
Another solution would be a special addition to the HIPC trust
fund. Denmark requested a proposal in writing.
BRAZILIAN PARTICIPATION IN THE PARIS CLUB
73. (SBU) The President noted the size of Brazil's economy, and
its associate membership status since 1972, but said its recent
behavior put into question its solidarity with the Paris Club.
Examples cited included a lack of participation in recent accords
and discussions (Iraq, Nicaragua, Zambia) under the pretext of
internal legal reasons. However, the Secretariat reminded the PC
members of Brazil's status as an important partner and closest ad-
hoc member. A draft letter regarding the role of Brazil
internationally and the possibility of giving Brazil full-member
status in the PC were debated.
74. (SBU) The IMF noted that Brazil is a creditor to ten HIPC
countries. Belgium cited cases from the 1990s and highlighted
that the PC could now use Brazil's own arguments in those
situations against them. Germany questioned the validity of the
point about Iraq in the draft letter. Regarding the letter, the
German delegation proposed a change of wording to reflect that
Angolan credits are different than HIPC and Iraq. Similarly,
Norway proposed giving the letter a more neutral tone.
75. (SBU) The UK expressed its strong interest that Brazil remain
an associated member and partner of the PC. The UK had no
problem with the thesis of the letter, but rather with its
tactics. The UK also suggested that the PC give careful thought
to full membership status for Brazil if the country fully commits
to the HIPC initiative.
76. (SBU) Spain explained that recent contacts with Brazil
demonstrated that the country acted more like a debtor than a
creditor; the PC would rather have the country in the camp of the
creditor nations. Yet, Spain agreed that permanent member status
for Brazil is worth considering; this should not be mentioned in
the letter, but the subject of future PC discussions. Having
Brazil as a full member would diversify the PC, giving it a Latin
77. (SBU) The USDEL concurred that the letter would be a good
idea and looked forward to hearing the views of other PC members.
The USDEL proposed simplifying the vague phrase "confident
relations" to clearly indicate the importance of the PC
solidarity principle. The Netherlands also affirmed the
importance of Brazilian participation but maintained that full
members must adhere to all PC rules.
78. (SBU) Japan agreed with the letter and asked about the role
of other Portuguese-speaking nations (Portugal and Angola).
Belgium responded that the EU countries have pressured Portugal
to join as measure of solidarity.
79. (SBU) Canada questioned the effectiveness of a letter, citing
the risk of alienating Brazil. The Secretariat reminded the
Paris Club that the letter was intended to remind Brazil that it
is an important PC partner, not to reproach the country's
behavior. The President noted the suggested modifications, and
directed the Secretariat to circulate a revised version before
This message was cleared by the Head of Delegation.