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Shopsteward Volume 23 No. 3

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Calls for debt cancellation increase

14 April 2000

Issued by COSATU on behalf of Jubilee 2000

IMMEDIATE DEBT CANCELLATION CALLS INCREASE AS IMF / WORLD BANK MEETINGS PROCEED

The ANC parliamentary caucus today joined Jubilee 2000's call for immediate, total, and unconditional debt cancellation for Mozambique and other developing countries by introducing a motion in parliament supporting this objective.

The motion, introduced this morning by Trade & Industry Portfolio Committee chairperson Rob Davies, noted that in 1999 the South African government "totally and unconditionally cancelled Mozambique's bilateral debt in recognition of the odious nature of that debt, relating to the apartheid regime's war in Southern Africa". This because "apartheid destabilisation throughout Southern Africa, made possible by apartheid's creditors, shattered Mozambique's economy and made it what the World Bank says is the poorest country in the world", the motion read.

It stated that "immediate, total, and unconditional debt cancellation of Mozambique's foreign debt is key to the long- term reconstruction of the country" and called on "multilateral and bilateral creditors to work towards total and unconditional Jubilee debt cancellation".

Meanwhile, speaking at the opening of the G77 summit in Havanna, Cuba, President Thabo Mbeki identified "the alleviation of the debt burden carried by many of our countries, including its cancellation" as the first priority focus for "a constructive and purposeful relationship between (South countries) and the countries of the North".

Highlighting the need to develop meaningful global solidarity that transcends narrow national policies, Mbeki pointed to the contradiction that "various countries of the North came to Mozambique to help the government and people of that sister country to cope with the very serious flood disaster", but "a week after they had arrived to demonstrate this global solidarity, they refused to do the most obvious thing to express solidarity with the suffering Mozambican people, namely, to cancel Mozambique's debt".

Mbeki appealed to the gathering that "we have to add our weight to the ongoing campaign to address the debt question". "We must act for the inclusion of the concerns and aspirations of the masses of our people within a real global agenda for people-centred development", he added.

On another front, Mr FW De Klerk, addressing the SA Institute of International Affairs in Cape Town yesterday, criticised the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and rich countries that "while some steps were being taken by the IMF and first world countries to address the problem (of debt), these measures dealt with only a fraction of the continent's total outstanding debt.

Jubilee 2000 will conclude its week of activities focusing on debt cancellation for Mozambique with a prayer service at St George's Cathedral on Sunday, April 16th, at 11h30. Dr Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia, will speak on Southern Africa's apartheid-caused debt. Dr Frene Ginwala, Speaker of the National Assembly will participate in the prayer service, and is expected to be accompanied by all Speakers' of SADC parliaments, in Cape Town for a SADC Parliamentary Forum meeting. Both Dr Kaunda and Dr Ginwala will perform a symbolic action representing the braking of the chains of debt. All Journalists and the public are invited to attend.

For more information call 083 449 3934

Issued by:
Neville Gabriel National Secretary
Jubilee 2000 South Africa c/o SACBC
PO Box 941
PRETORIA 0001
South Africa
Tel. +27 (0)12 323 6458
Cell. +27 (0)83 449 3934
Fax. +27 (0)12 326 6218
E-mail: j2000sec@sn.apc.org
http://www.aidc.org.za/j2000 http://jubileesouth.net

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