Monday, July 07, 2008

More Arabs recognize Iraqi govt as legit

More good news. Arab nations are finally beginning to recognize the legitimacy of the Iraqi government and are officially normalizing relations with Iraq. It does not surprise me that KSA will probably be the last Arab country to restore diplomatic relations with Iraq and might be the last country on earth to forgive Iraq's debt, which was incurred during Saddam's rule. Thanks Maury. Bold below is by me.

UAE cancels Iraq debt, names new ambassador

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer Sun Jul 6, 8:51 PM ET

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - The United Arab Emirates canceled billions of dollars of Iraqi debt Sunday and moved to restore a full diplomatic mission in Baghdad, evidence of Iraq's improved security and growing acceptance of its Shiite-led government.

The Abu Dhabi government announced the debt relief and the naming of a new ambassador to Baghdad shortly after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki began a visit to the wealthy Gulf nation.

The news was sure to bolster al-Maliki's government, which has been urging Iraq's Sunni Arab neighbors to forgive loans made during Saddam Hussein's regime and restore diplomatic relations.

Al-Maliki, who has been in office since May 2006, thanked the UAE for the debt cancellation, telling local businessmen it was a "swift and courageous" decision.

The Emirates' official news agency, WAM, quoted the president, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as saying he hoped canceling the debt would lighten the "economic burden" facing Iraqis and he urged the country to unite behind al-Maliki's government.

WAM said the debt was $4 billion excluding interest. A UAE official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media said the total debt was $7 billion with interest.

Iraq has been appealing for relief of at least $67 billion in foreign debt — owed mostly to Arab nations that have been reluctant to forgive Iraq's belligerence during Saddam Hussein's regime.

In addition, the U.N. Compensation Commission says $28 billion remains to be paid for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Iraq now gives 5 percent of its oil revenue to meet the compensation claims.

Al-Maliki's American backers also have pushed Arab states to restore ties with Iraq, where violence has declined by 70 percent over the past year. Neighboring Jordan named an ambassador last week, and Kuwait and Bahrain say they will soon follow suit.


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