G-8 and debt cancellation: asking for more

The decision announced at the G-8 preparatory meeting of finance ministers on June 11 to cancel the multilateral debt of 18 highly indebted countries has had a positive reception in the media and the international community. Alboan, a Jesuit social centre in Bilbao, Spain, notes however that this decision, welcome as it is, has certain negative aspects that should not be overlooked. Their analysis appears in a special section of their website ( http://www.alboan.org) containing news about preparations for the G-8 meet and civil society mobilisation, and links and commentaries prepared in collaboration with the International Jesuit Network for Development. On the other side of the Atlantic, Bishop John H. Ricard, president of the authoritative International Policy Committee of the U.S. Bishops? Conference, said something similar in an interview reported by the international Catholic news agency Zenit. He welcomed the recent decision taken by the Group of Eight nations but, reminding rich countries of their moral obligation to protect the life and the dignity of the world’s poorest people, said that more should be done. In particular, he hopes that the amount of debt cancelled will be doubled and that at least 20 other poor countries will benefit. The interview may be downloaded in six languages at: http:// www.zenit.org [HL50601]