Written Answers. - Third World Debt.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

58 Kathleen Lynch asked the asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the policy the present Government is pursuing at international level on the subject of Third World debt. [

I am aware of the problems arising from the heavy burden of debt carried by many Third World countries. This is a major issue for the world community and it needs to be tackled at global level. The role which the Government can play is to support the efforts being made by the international financial institutions to resolve the problem and we are doing this, in so far as we can, through our membership of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The most recent statement of Government policy on this matter was enunciated by the Taoiseach at the World Summit for Social Development on 12 March 1995.

The Government's position is that, while acknowledging the progress which has been made in recent years to alleviate the debt burden, much more remains to be done particularly for the lowest income countries. In order to enable developing countries to achieve sustained economic and social progress, we regard it as imperative that a definitive and lasting solution be found to the debt question. In seeking a solution, we will need to be prepared to look with a fresh mind at all the options, including debt cancellation. In the case of multilateral debt, options including possible sale of some of the IMF's gold reserves, will have to be considered, subject to ensuring that the effectiveness of the financial institutions is not undermined. This issue will be dealt with further in the forthcoming White Paper on Foreign Policy.