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U.S. Cancels Iraq's Debt --> U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (file photo) 17 December 2004 (NCA) -- The United States formally wrote off all of its $4.1 billion in Iraqi debt and urged other nations to follow the example.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, Treasury Secretary John Snow, and Iraqi Finance Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi signed the accord formalizing the U.S. commitment made to the Paris Club of Iraqi creditors.

Powell said that lifting the burden of debts is "one of the most important contributions" to the new Iraq's beginning. On 21 November, the group of 19 creditors agreed to cancel 80 percent of the approximately $40 billion in debt owed them by the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein.

The Paris Club includes the United States, Japan, Russia, and the EU nations.