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MOFA plans to pay interest on Haiti's loans from Taiwan creditors

2010/03/10 21:41:02

Taipei, March 10 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)said Wednesday that it plans to help quake-ravaged Haiti paythe interest on debts owed to Taiwan creditors.

However, according to Foreign Minister Timothy Chin-tien Yang,because the loans are commercial, the government cannot cancel theprincipal amounts owed by the Caribbean ally.

The government will have to discuss the issue with the centralbank, commercial banks and the Legislative Yuan before budgeting topay Haiti's loan interest or moving to restructure its debt, Yangsaid.

The ministry may pay the interest for three to five years, the minister said. If the banks agree, Haiti will not have tomake any payments on the principal during that period, which willleave it free to focus on its reconstruction, he said.

According to a senior official who is familiar with the matter,Haiti's loans in Taiwan amount to about US$88 million.

The official said that the foreign ministry has discussed withtwo local creditor banks the possibility of the ministry paying theinterest on Haiti's loans.

Premier Wu Den-yih instructed the ministry last week to study thefeasibility of reducing Haiti's debt burden.

Shortly after the magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Haiti Jan.12, Wu said that the government had joined forces with the privatesector to provide humanitarian assistance to Haiti and had raisedUS$16 million in relief funds.

(By Shih Sinyao and Fanny Liu)