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Slovakia to pardon aid debts

THE SLOVAK Republic may forgive Sk1.2 billion (€30 million) worth of debt belonging to Sudan and Afghanistan as the state does not expect a repayment anytime soon considering their respective political and economic situation, the SITA news agency wrote.

The Slovak Finance Ministry is therefore proposing that Slovakia forgive the debts of these two countries in full. The proposal has yet to be approved by the cabinet..

The Finance Ministry registers a claim of Sk1.1 billion (€30 million) against Sudan and proposes to forgive it within the HIPC initiative for highly indebted poor countries.

Afghanistan owes Slovakia Sk88 million (€2.3 million) and the Finance Ministry suggests forgiving this debt within the ODA (Official Development Aid) programme.

In 2002, EU members pledged to increase their share of official development aid to a collective average of 0.39 percent of gross national product (GNP) by 2006. The minimum target for EU newcomers was set at 0.33 percent of GNP. Developed countries committed to increase their development aid to 0.7 percent of GNP by 2015.

This June, the European Council confirmed its resolution to meet these obligations and set the new collective target for EU countries at 0.56 percent by 2010. Forgiving debts to Sudan and Afghanistan will positively reflect on the official development aid provided by Slovakia, states the Finance Ministry.

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