Viewing cable 06PARIS4253
Title: PARIS CLUB - JUNE 2006 TOUR D'HORIZON, 50 YEAR ANNIVERSARY,

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06PARIS42532006-06-21 09:51:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Paris
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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHFR #4253/01 1720951
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210951Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8777
INFO RUEATRS/DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 6141
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 1786
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 1605
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 5755
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1608
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 1353
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 1187
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 6146
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 2354
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 5380
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 1387
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 1938
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 7741
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1305
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 1403
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 2510
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2301
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 1569
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 1659
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0361
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 0768
RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA 0752
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 1249
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0944
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 1366
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0735
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0475
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1085
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 1233
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0099
UNCLAS PARIS 004253 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EB/IFD/OMA 
TREASURY FOR DO/IDD AND OUSED/IMF 
SECDEF FOR USDP/DSAA 
PASS EXIM FOR CLAIMS -- EDELARIVA 
PASS USDA FOR CCC -- ALEUNG/DERICKSON/KCHADWICK 
PASS USAID FOR CLAIMS 
PASS DOD FOR DSCS -- PBERG 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EFIN ECON EAID XM XA XH XB XF FR
SUBJECT: PARIS CLUB - JUNE 2006 TOUR D'HORIZON, 50 YEAR ANNIVERSARY, 
AND DEBT NEGOTIATIONS 
 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.  NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1.  (SBU) At the June 13-16 meeting of the Paris Club, creditors 
reached a tentative agreement on a deal that will allow Russia to 
repay its remaining USD 22 billion in previously rescheduled Paris 
Club debt in August.  The deal is still subject to approval by 
Moscow.  Cameroon received a completion point treatment under the 
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, which after 
further bilateral debt relief, will reduce its debt to Paris Club 
creditors from over 3.5 billion dollars to just 27 million dollars. 
The US, per its HIPC policy, agreed to cancel 100 per cent of its 
claims on Cameroon.  Russia cast doubt on the prospects for a the 
first stage of a debt treatment for Afghanistan next month, 
complaining that the debt reconciliation process still had not been 
completed and indicating that it was not prepared to negotiate at 
the July Paris Club meeting unless more progress has been made. 
Other countries on the agenda included Algeria, Angola, Argentina, 
Brazil, Congo-B, Djibouti, DRC, Iraq, Nigeria and Sudan.  Creditors 
discussed the problems of litigating creditors (vulture funds) and 
free-riding (new lending to HIPCs).   In addition, the Paris Club 
held its annual meeting with the private sector and hosted a 
conference to mark the club's 50th anniversary.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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AFGHANISTAN 
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¶2.  (U) Russia said Afghanistan did not sign a data reconciliation 
agreement at a recent meeting between the two sides.  Without 
agreement on the debt numbers, Russia is not prepared to negotiate 
the first stage of debt reduction (so-called "Naples treatment") in 
July.  Russia asked the secretariat to send a letter to Afghanistan 
urging it to complete the reconciliation process.  The US agreed 
that a letter would be useful and suggested that, despite the 
current impasse, Afghanistan be invited for negotiations in July, 
subject to approval of the PRGF and progress on reconciliation. 
Russia concurred. 
 
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ALGERIA 
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¶3.  (U) The Secretariat reviewed the status of Algeria's prepayment 
transaction.  Participating creditors reported that they had either 
received payment in full or had arranged to be paid at a later date. 
 Some creditors reported arrears but expect them to be cleared.  The 
US received full prepayment of Ex-Im debt on June 15 (USD 627 
 
E 
 
million).  In a bilateral meeting on the margins of the Paris Club 
session, the Algerian finance minister informed the US delegation 
that the president of Algeria had written a letter to President Bush 
seeking prepayment of Algeria's debt to USDA (around USD 600 
million).  USDEL explained that the USDA debt did not contain 
prepayment provisions, and that the Paris Club agreement governing 
Algeria's prepayment prohibited early repayment above face value. 
 
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ANGOLA 
------ 
¶4.   (U) Paris Club Chairman Musca's meeting with the Angolan 
Finance Minister, originally due to take place at the end of last 
month, is now scheduled for June 26.  The IMF said Angola's new DSA 
will show that external debt indicators have improved substantially, 
resulting in the country's reclassification from high to moderate 
risk of debt distress. 
 
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ARGENTINA 
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¶5.  (U) The Secretariat asked if any creditors had met with 
Argentina bilaterally.  Germany and the US reported that their 
embassies in Buenos Aires had been approached.  Spain said President 
Kirchner will meet with Spanish authorities later this month, but it 
is unclear what his message will be.  The US, supported by Italy and 
the Netherlands, stressed that creditors should continue to urge 
Argentina to pursue a multilateral solution in the Paris Club, and 
that any debt treatment without an IMF program would be problematic. 
 Germany (Argentina's largest Paris Club creditor) said it was not 
looking to conclude a bilateral deal. 
 
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BRAZIL 
------ 
¶6.  (U) The Secretariat took stock of Brazil's prepayment 
transaction.  Italy and Canada reported some arrears that have yet 
to be cleared.  Germany said it was trying to resolve some disputed 
claims.  All other creditors have received prepayment and have no 
arrears.  In response to a question from Italy, the Secretariat 
explained that Brazil has yet to make a formal request to become a 
member of the Paris Club, but appears to be considering such a 
request and has asked the Secretariat to gauge how creditors might 
react. 
 
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CAMEROON 
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¶7.  (U) Creditors provided Cameroon its HIPC completion point 
treatment.  In line with their commitment at decision point, 
creditors agreed to cancel USD 622 million in claims (in June 1999 
NPV terms), including USD 117 million in interim relief already 
provided.  An additional USD 3.1 billion will be canceled on a 
voluntary, bilateral basis. 
 
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CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE 
----------------- 
¶8.  (U) The second phase of interim relief will enter into force 
upon approval of the second review of Congo-B's PRGF.  The second 
review is scheduled for end-June.  The US indicated that Congo 
needed to pay 779,638 dollars in arrears to Exim and USDA before it 
could support the extension of interim relief. 
 
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DJIBOUTI 
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¶9.  (U) Djibouti continues to run arrears to France and Spain. The 
Secretariat will send a letter to the authorities urging them to 
 
SIPDIS 
conclude a bilateral agreement with Spain implementing the 2000 
Paris Club terms of reference, and noting that Djibouti could 
benefit from a Paris Club treatment if it had an IMF program in 
place.  (The US is not a creditor.) 
 
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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO 
---------------------------- 
¶10.  (U) The DRC's finance minister has requested a meeting with the 
Secretariat to examine ways for creditors to extend interim HIPC 
 
SIPDIS 
relief, despite the fact that the DRC's PRGF has expired and a 
successor arrangement is uncertain.  The Secretariat will deliver a 
three-pronged message:  (1) creditors cannot extend interim relief 
in the absence of an IMF program; (2) creditors are pleased with the 
DRC's willingness to be cooperative; and (3) the DRC should respect 
inter-creditor equity. 
 
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IRAQ 
---- 
¶11.  (U) Russia and Ireland are the only remaining Paris Club 
creditors that have yet to sign a bilateral agreement with Iraq. 
Russia expressed optimism that a meeting with the Iraqi Finance 
Minister scheduled for later in the week could result in progress on 
data reconciliation.  The Secretariat reported that discussions 
between Ireland and Iraq were progressing, and that a bilateral 
should be signed soon. 
 
 
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NIGERIA 
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¶12.  (U) Amid press reports that Nigeria is considering a 
restructuring of its commercial debt, the Secretariat expressed 
concern that participants at the Paris Club's annual meeting with 
the private sector might question whether the comparability of 
treatment principle is being respected.  The UK, supported by the 
US, reminded creditors that they had already determined last year 
that Nigeria's previous commercial restructurings were sufficient to 
satisfy the comparability of treatment requirement.  Moreover, since 
Nigeria no longer had any Paris Club debt, it was pointless for the 
Club to reopen the debate.  The following day, at the meeting with 
the private sector, private sector participants did not press the 
issue. 
 
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RUSSIA 
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¶13.   (SBU) Creditors agreed to the terms of a transaction that will 
allow Russia to pay off the totality of its previously rescheduled 
Paris Club debt.  The agreement was not finalized, however, because 
Russia said the envisaged payments exceeded a limit established by 
its Council of Ministers.  Russia will seek approval from the 
council later this month.  If the council consents, the agreement 
will take effect.  The agreement came at the end of protracted and 
bitter negotiations that extended over two days.  For its opening 
position, Russia offered to prepay its remaining Paris Club debt at 
face value, in line with the USD 15 billion prepayment transaction 
that was concluded last summer.  Germany and France, who together 
account for over half of the USD 22 billion in debt outstanding, 
declined the offer.  Both countries indicated that they would not 
include all their claims in a prepayment at face value, but would 
consider participating fully in a buyback at market value.  Russia's 
negotiating strategy was then to find a sufficient price to entice 
Germany and France to participate, while minimizing the premium paid 
to other creditors who were otherwise prepared to accept face value. 
 In the agreement that emerged, Germany, France, the Netherlands, 
the UK were the only countries eligible to receive a premium above 
face value for their fixed-rate claims.  The US did not sign the 
Agreed Minute, but provided a side letter welcoming the agreement 
and reiterating that Russia has the contractual right to prepay its 
outstanding US debt at any time.  The negotiations with Russia 
contrasted sharply with those that took place with Algeria last 
month.  In the case of Algeria, the Secretariat quickly quashed 
discussion of a buyback option at market value, arguing that Algeria 
would never consider it.  In the case of Russia, the Secretariat was 
 
prepared to bend Paris Club principles to meet two objectives: (1) 
close a deal in which all creditors participated; and (2) ensure 
that France and Germany received market value for their fixed-rate 
claims, even if others did not. 
 
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SUDAN 
----- 
¶14.  (U) At the request of the Netherlands, the Secretariat agreed 
to initiate a data call, under which creditors will report the 
amount of Sudan's bilateral debt. 
 
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Litigating Creditors 
------------------------ 
¶15.  (U) Reacting to the Secretariat's working paper on ways for the 
Paris Club to help debtor countries defend themselves from 
litigating creditors (sometimes referred to as "vulture funds"), the 
US, Spain, and the UK stressed the importance of respecting the rule 
of law.  The US added that amicus briefs were not likely to be 
effective, and that the status quo was perhaps the best option. 
Spain, Italy, and the UK said changes to domestic laws would be 
difficult.  In response to Spain's comment that the issue of 
litigating creditors was one for the IFIs to resolve, the IMF said 
there was little it could do other than try to exert moral suasion. 
Both the IMF and the US raised a related question that will require 
further thought:  how does the Paris Club deal with debtors who 
negotiate settlements with private creditors that are clearly not 
consistent with comparability of treatment?  The Secretariat 
concluded by saying that this discussion was a first step in an 
effort to find a common approach to the issue.  At the next meeting, 
it will ask creditors to consider concrete steps that can be taken 
immediately, such as sending letters to debtors on the comparability 
of treatment requirement that they can use in their discussions with 
litigating creditors.  The Secretariat thought a meeting with 
litigating creditors, as suggested by the US, would be useful, but 
that Paris Club creditors first need to decide on a common message. 
 
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Free-Riding 
----------- 
¶16.  (U) The Secretariat gave a comprehensive and useful 
presentation on free-riding, i.e. the problem of emerging creditors, 
such as China, providing non-concessional debt or excessive amounts 
of concessional debt to heavily indebted countries or countries that 
have just completed the HIPC process.  The presentation highlighted 
efforts underway in the IMF, World Bank, and OECD to address 
free-riding and suggested a number of (mostly constructive) steps 
 
the Paris Club could take to help, namely: 
 
-- Promote the use of the IMF's Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF) 
to inform lending decisions 
-- Exchange views and data on free-riding cases 
-- Inform countries that have not completed the HIPC process that 
the Paris Club will insist that they seek comparable debt relief 
from new lenders 
--  Ask HIPC countries to make commitments on responsible borrowing. 
 (It is unclear how this would work in practice, or whether the 
Paris Club should be the arbiter of responsible borrowing.) 
 
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Annual Meeting with the Private Sector 
-------------------------------------- 
¶17.  (U) Participants discussed recent Paris Club activity 
(including agreements concluded with Nigeria and Algeria), 
developments in emerging debt markets, Iraq's commercial debt 
restructuring, and Argentina's debt situation.  The Institute of 
International Finance (IIF) touted its Principles for stable capital 
flows and fair debt restructuring in emerging markets, claiming that 
debtor countries were implementing the Principles more than ever. 
On the issue of comparability of treatment, the IIF questioned why 
the Paris Club isn't more transparent in instances where comparable 
treatment is judged to have been satisfied by previous commercial 
restructurings (e.g., case of Moldova and Nigeria).  Paris Club 
chairman Musca said the Club would give the issue more thought, but 
in the meantime, the private sector can always check with the debtor 
country to see if comparable treatment has been satisfied. 
 
¶18.  (U) French Bank UBAF, which led the so-called London Club 
Consultative Group, launched into a blistering and at times ad 
hominem attack on Iraq's advisors and their "unilateral" commercial 
offer - even though UBAF accepted the offer.  The US pointed out 
that the Iraqi authorities and their advisors had very different 
views, but were not in the room to defend themselves.  Musca said 
the Paris Club has done its best to emphasize the importance of 
transparency, cooperation, and equitable treatment in debt 
restructurings, but can't be expected to act alone.  He called on 
the IMF and other international actors to ensure that the 
Principles, the IMF's lending-into-arrears policy, and other 
standards were respected. 
 
¶19.  (U) In his presentation on Argentina, Nicola Stock, 
representing Italian bondholders, remarked that a country that could 
repay its debts to the IMF should have treated its private creditors 
better.  A representative from the Argentine Bondholders Committee 
said reverse comparable treatment should apply (i.e., the Paris Club 
 
should provide debt relief equivalent to that already provided by 
the private sector), and called on the Paris Club not to restructure 
Argentina's debt without an IMF program.  The Secretariat confirmed 
that an IMF program was a prerequisite for a restructuring in the 
Paris Club, which in turn would require that Argentina be in 
compliance with the Fund's lending-into-arrears policy (i.e., the 
policy of lending only when the debtor is making a good faith effort 
to reach an agreement with creditors).  The IMF said it did not see 
any prospect for an IMF program with Argentina at this time, and 
noted that it was planning to review its lending-into-arrears 
policy.  The IIF said any revision to the lending-into-arrears 
policy must not facilitate misbehavior by debtor countries. 
 
--------------------------- 
50th Anniversary Conference 
--------------------------- 
¶20.  (U) The conference was organized around two roundtable 
discussions: (1) the Paris Club and the international financial 
architecture, and (2) the Paris Club and the restoration of debt 
sustainability.  During the first discussion, Jacques de Larosiere 
(IIF) touched on a number of familiar themes, including the shift 
from sovereign lending to private capital, the "take-it-or-leave-it" 
debt restructuring offers by Iraq and Argentina, the failure of the 
Paris Club to recognize reverse comparable treatment, and the IMF's 
reluctance to enforce its own lending-into-arrears policy.  Jean 
Lemierre (EBRD and former Paris Club Chairman) defended one-way 
comparability of treatment, arguing that sovereign lenders and 
private lenders were fundamentally different.  Several speakers said 
the credibility and relevance of the Paris Club depended on the 
Club's success in reaching out to emerging lenders.  Others 
expressed support for the IIF Principles and called for increased 
transparency and cooperation with the private sector.  In the second 
roundtable, Michel Camdessus, former IMF Managing Director and 
Chairman of the Paris Club, highlighted the risk that irresponsible 
borrowing in low-income countries could lead to new debt crises. 
Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala suggested that the 
Paris Club should take into account debtor countries' development 
needs in determining the level of sustainable debt, while debtors 
need to monitor their own borrowing.  Vicenzo La Via (World Bank) 
said debt cancellation itself would not ensure debt sustainability 
and emphasized the importance of the DSF and governance issues. 
Overall, speakers in both sessions were reluctant to engage in a 
serious debate about the Paris Club's future, opting instead to pose 
broad, rhetorical questions interspersed with paeans to the Club's 
history and accomplishments. 
 
STAPLETON#