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Christian Aid welcomes G7 backing for campaign to drop Haiti's debt

G7 finance ministers have joined the growing chorus of demands for the International Monetary Fund to drop Haiti's debt burden, in a move welcomed today by Christian Aid.

At their meeting this weekend in Iqaluit, Canada, the ministers called on international lenders such as the IMF and Inter-American Development Bank to rapidly cancel the devastated country's debts.

'G7 ministers' backing of the growing campaign for cancellation of Haiti's debt is very welcome,' says Dr David McNair, Senior Economic Justice Adviser at Christian Aid. 'Now we need the IMF and the Inter-American Development Bank urgently to deliver what Haiti desperately needs, as it struggles to recover from the nightmarish effects of the earthquake.'

'So far, the IMF's only action has been to lend Haiti yet more money. That new debt, and the country's existing debts, should immediately be forgiven and any further transfers should be in the form of grants, not loans.'

More than 15,000 people in the UK have signed a Christian Aid petition urging Chancellor Alistair Darling to help get Haiti's estimated $890 million international debt cancelled. The petition was delivered to Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, just before G7 finance ministers' meeting this weekend.

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Notes to editors:

For more information and interviews, contact Rachel Baird on 07545 501 749 or, during business hours, 0207 523 2446 or rbaird@christian-aid.org

The wording of the Christian Aid petition is:

Dear Chancellor of the Exchequer,

Last year you cancelled Haiti's debt to the UK.

Following the horrific earthquake in Haiti please lead the world in making sure that:

all of Haiti's remaining $890 million international debt is cancelled immediately.
all emergency and development funds for the people of Haiti are given not loaned.
This will save lives and give the people of Haiti a fighting chance.

Please support the Disasters Appeal by calling 0370 60 60 900 or going to www.dec.org.uk

For more information about Haiti's debts, see the Jubilee Debt Campaign website: http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/

Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.

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