Top finance officials of the Group of Eight industrialized nations meet Friday in London in an effort to work out an agreement on debt relief for the world's poorest countries.

The finance ministers will try to settle differences over the issue before a G8 summit next month in Scotland.

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said earlier this week after meeting in Washington that they were close to completing a proposal to cancel all debt for the world's poorest countries.

The New York Times Friday quotes an unidentified senior official in Washington as saying an agreement has been reached. The report says the plan would free 18 mostly African countries from their entire debt obligation.

However, other G8 countries are sharply divided on how to finance debt relief.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.