Arab Monetary Fund writes off US$100 million Iraqi debt; reschedules rest

Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr says the Arab Monetary Fund has written off US$100 million in interest on Iraq's US$500 million debt. The two sides signed an agreement Saturday in Amman also rescheduling the remaining US$400 million of Iraqi debt - incurred during the Saddam Hussein era - to the Abu-Dhabi-based fund over a period of 18 years. Many Western nations have dropped Iraqi debt but Sunni Arab neighboring states, wary of Iraq's Shiite-dominated government and its Iranian ties, have been reluctant to follow suit despite recent security gains. The fund, founded in 1976 and hosted by the United Arab Emirates, has 22 member countries including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt.