WASHINGTON(January 28, 2005) – The chairman of the bishops' International Policy Committee today expressed support for proposals for canceling the debts of the world's poorest countries owed to multilateral creditors and congratulated U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow on his leadership on debt relief among the Group of Seven industrialized nations.
"An agreement on multilateral debt cancellation would be a most important complement to the recent consensus that I understand has been achieved to provide new assistance by the International Development Association solely in the form of grants to a large number of the poorest countries," said Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, in a letter to Snow. "We congratulate you for your leadership on this issue."
Bishop Ricard expressed his hope to the treasury secretary that he and his counterparts from the other members of the G-7 nations would take "decisive action to complete the unfinished agenda concerning debt relief for the world's poorest countries" when they meet in London next month.
"We reiterate our hope that multilateral debt cancellation is provided in a way that does not merely substitute for other aid but provides additional resources," Bishop Ricard said. "This is a particular concern because debt cancellation ought not to be about adjusting accounts but about combating poverty."
NOTE: The full text of Bishop Ricard's letter is available on the Web at: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2005/05-019a.shtml