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Western Countries To Forgive 80 Percent Of Iraq's Debt --> 21 November 2004 -- German Finance Minister Hans Eichel said yesterday that he and U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow have agreed on a proposal to write off as much as 80 percent of Iraq's debt.

Eichel said the draft agreement created the basis on which the Paris Club of creditors nations could settle Iraq's debt.

"I had a very intensive discussion with my American colleague John Snow this morning which formed the base for the Paris Club to settle the debt relief for Iraq," Eichel said. "We both agree that a debt relief in several stages should lead to a total of 80 percent."

A spokesman for German Finance Minister Joerg Mueller said the German-U.S. agreement was being discussed by the Paris Club and the "expectation is that it will be accepted."

Germany and France had previously been calling for lower Iraq debt relief, while the U.S. had been pushing for a 90-95 percent reduction.

Eichel and Snow met on the sidelines of a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 most industrial and emerging nations. The G-20 meeting in Berlin ends today.