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Paris Club writes off $6.5 bn in Ivory Coast debt

PARIS, June 29 – The Paris Club of lenders said Friday it was writing off $6.5 billion (5.1 billion euros) of Ivory Coast’s debt, nearly all of the money owed to the group of countries that provide development aid.

The write-off amounted to 99.5 percent of the West African country’s debt, it said in a statement.

The statement said the 19-nation club welcomed Ivory Coast’s “determination to continue to implement a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy and an ambitious economic programme providing the basis for sustainable economic growth.”

It said Ivory Coast “has committed to use the resources freed by this debt treatment for priority areas (health, education and basic infrastructure) identified in the country’s poverty reduction strategy.”

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Tuesday said they had approved the cancellation of $4 billion in debts owed by Ivory Coast, after it met goals under a poverty reduction programme.

The country was plunged into disarray for years after a civil war erupted in 2002. The fighting halted with a 2007 peace pact, only to start up again for several months after 2010 elections.

The fighting ended when forces loyal to the current president, Alassane Ouattara, seized ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently detained by the International Criminal Court to face charges of human rights violations.

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