Archbishop of Newark
Chairman, International Policy Committee
United States Catholic Conference
June 25, 1999
On June 18, 1999, the world's leading economic powers issued the "Cologne Initiative," an agreement to reduce the debts of the poorest countries. It is an important step forward to securing access to education, health care, sanitation, and other basic needs for millions of people suffering under the burden of debt. Although the agreement will provide more debt relief to a wider range of countries than under existing programs, it still falls short of the amount needed to make a major difference for the 45 countries in greatest need. We urge the Administration to take the next step forward by supporting H.R. 1095, the Debt Relief for Poverty Reduction Act of 1999, introduced by Rep. Jim Leach and Rep. John LaFalce of the House Banking Committee.