Egypt to press Iraq for $2 billion debt

A top Egyptian diplomat says Egypt will press Iraq to repay some $2 billion in debt incurred during the reign of deposed leader Saddam Hussein. Deputy Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Salah says the debt issue will top the agenda of talks this week aimed at boosting bilateral ties. Salah says before Egypt reopens its diplomatic mission in Baghdad it would like to resolve the debt issue and increase exports. Cairo closed its mission in Baghdad in 2005 after its chief envoy was kidnapped and killed by al-Qaida. Iraq has at least $67 billion in foreign debt - most of it owed to fellow Arab countries Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The United States has repeatedly urged Iraq's debtors for relief and to open embassies in the country.