Different Package

Chandi Dharmaratne

Sept 11, 2006 (AFP) – Finance ministers and top officials from Commonwealth countries meeting Monday in Sri Lanka’s capital said they will seek ways to cancel billions of dollars in debt owed by poor nations. Don McKinnon, the head of the 53-member Commonwealth, said he hoped finance ministers will be able to focus attention on debt forgiveness for developing nations.

He said that although the Group of Eight developed nations had agreed to write off billions of dollars in debt and double aid to the developing nations, delivery had been slow.

“It is becoming a bit of a habit … They make a promise and in 12 months it is watered down,” McKinnon told reporters here ahead of the three-day meeting starting Tuesday.

“Commonwealth finance ministers have debated before and changed the world,” he said referring to an initiative in 1987 when they set off the process of cancelling poor countries’ debt.

Commonwealth efforts have resulted in over 120 billion dollars of debt being cancelled in 30 countries, the organisation said in a statement.

“We can debate again in Colombo and trigger the same scale of results,” McKinnon said. “I expect similar progress when we ask ourselves how current ways of deli