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Beattie Reports on Burma Debt

Beattie Reports on Burma Debt
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Q&A Bird & Beattie / Burma Debt / In another sign Burma is emerging from many years of isolation, the country has been able to clear interest on decades of past debt. The funds were owed to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB), and totalled nearly $1 billion. Burma also reportedly secured debt write-off of billions more from members of the Paris Club of creditor nations. That amount could reach nearly $6-billion. Burma's total external debt on loans made back in the 1970s and 1980s could be as high as $11-billion. However, the announcements today give a boost to President Thein Sein's efforts at reforming the nation and follow the lifting of sanctions by Western nations. Economist Kelly Bird of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank tells VOA's Victor Beattie the bank's relationship with Burma will be phased in over the next two years. He says more than $500-million in arrears by Burma has been cleared with the help of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, or JBIC.