McCreevy urges generous stance on world poverty


The international community should take a more generous and flexible approach to the world's heavily-indebted countries, the Minister for Finance said yesterday.

Addressing the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, Mr McCreevy repeatedly called for the international community to take a more flexible and generous approach to poor countries.

He also met with the new EU president of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Mr Horst Kohler, to emphasise Ireland's concerns about the crisis in Russia.

The EBRD is working closely with both the IMF and World Bank on reform programmes for Russia. The Minister emphasised Ireland's commitment to helping the EBRD and also underscored concerns about beef exports to the region.

Mr McCreevy also said the IMF's role in crisis prevention should be strengthened and that the international institutions should redouble their efforts to bring stability to the global financial and monetary system.

"Resolving the difficulties in Russia, reviving growth in south-east Asia and minimising contagion effects are all vital ingredients," he added.

According to Mr McCreevy, the IMF must ensure the most vulnerable groups in society are protected to the greatest extent possible and the private sector must bear its fair share of the overall burden of adjustment. He also called for greater transparency of information and in decision making.

He added that the Government fully supported efforts to bring the deepest possible level of debt relief to the poorest countries and that Ireland had already provided an extra £11 million to the World Bank's HIPC Trust and £4 million to the IMF's trust on top of £9.5 million already committed to Mozambique and Tanzania for debt relief.