Al Arabiya reports that the United Arab Emirates will scrap $5.8 billion in debts owed by Iraq.
Emirati foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan, said on Monday at a news conference hosted jointly with Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari (pictured):
“An agreement will be signed soon to lay out the legal framework for waiving old Iraqi debt of $5.8 billion.”
Zebari thanked the UAE for cancelling the debts, which he said was “a very heavy burden” on Iraq.
“The relations between the two states did not stop [in the past 10 years], but today we started the official framework of co-operation,” Zebari said.
The debt date backs to the 1980s when Iraq had borrowed money from Gulf states for assistance with Iraq’s long-running war with Iran.
The move follows a similar one in 2008, when the UAE wrote off almost $7 billion worth of Iraqi debt left over from the era of Saddam Hussein.
Trade between Iraq and the UAE exceeded $4.5 billion last year.
(Source: Al Arabiya)