Viewing cable 07PARIS4399
Title: PARIS CLUB - OCTOBER 2007 REPORTING CABLE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07PARIS43992007-10-31 14:37:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO4340
RR RUEHBZ RUEHGI RUEHPOD
DE RUEHFR #4399/01 3041437
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311437Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0981
INFO RUEATRS/DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 6705
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 2038
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 6752
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 2732
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 5991
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 1550
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RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 1562
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 2910
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2591
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 2116
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 1528
RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA 0891
RUEHLC/AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE 1264
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0680
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 1024
RUEHMV/AMEMBASSY MONROVIA 7302
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0871
RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN 0491
RUEHBZ/AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE 0060
RUEHRY/AMEMBASSY CONAKRY 1085
RUEHPOD/AMEMBASSY PODGORICA 0054
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI 0127
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 PARIS 004399 
 
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 - OCTOBER 2007 REPORTING CABLE 
 
 
¶1. (SBU) Summary: On October 17, the Paris Club agreed to accept a 
buyback of previously rescheduled Jordanian debt at an average 
discount of 11 percent off face value.  This figure is significantly 
above the 5-7% figure that the Paris Club Secretariat initially 
estimated to be a fair market discount.  The U.S. announced that it 
intended to seek statutory authority to participate.  The U.S. did 
not sign the agreement, in large part due to our continued 
opposition to the use of "comparability of treatment" clauses in 
buyback agreements, but instead provided a side letter stating our 
intention to participate once we received authorization.  At the 
tour d'horizon on October 18, the Club reviewed relations with 
Angola, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the 
Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea (which may be eligible for debt 
relief as soon as December), Iraq, Liberia, and 
Serbia/Montenegro/Kosovo. 
 
Angola 
------ 
 
¶2.  (SBU) Angola appears close to making a proposal to address late 
interest owed to the Paris Club.  Finance Minister de Morais told 
Paris Club Chairman Musca that Angola is considering paying a 
substantial portion of its $2.2 billion in late interest due, 
provided that creditors allow Angola to make the payment in two to 
four installments (perhaps over three to four years) rather than up 
front.  Angola is also looking for creditors to stop the late 
interest charges from accruing further and to remove the penalty 
interest rate component from the late interest calculation.  There 
would be an expectation that the Paris Club would no longer ask its 
members' export credit agencies (ECAs) to remain off cover in 
Angola, and that some ECAs might have the flexibility to go back on 
cover even before arrears and late interest are completely cleared. 
However, Angola would formally remain "in arrears" until all arrears 
are cleared.  The Secretariat said the Angolan government could make 
an offer before the November Paris Club session. 
 
Central African Republic 
------------------------ 
 
¶3.  (U) The Secretariat distributed draft agreed minutes for CAR's 
HIPC Decision Point treatment, to be sent to the authorities by 
mail.  The U.S. said it needed more time to complete internal 
procedures before it could approve the agreed minutes.  The IMF 
noted that creditors representing just 68% of CAR's eligible debt 
had provided financing assurances, short of the 70% threshold 
necessary for the Fund to disburse interim HIPC assistance. 
 
Congo-Brazzaville 
----------------- 
 
¶4.  (SBU) The Congolese authorities told the IMF that they had not 
contracted any new non-concessional loans, but had made contacts 
with China and were considering new borrowing to finance 
infrastructure projects.  Separately, the IMF reported major fiscal 
slippages under the Staff-monitored Program (SMP).  With no 
 
PARIS 00004399  002 OF 005 
 
 
immediate prospect for a new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility 
(PRGF) program, creditors will need to decide whether to let 
Congo-B's current Paris Club agreement (on Cologne terms) expire, 
and agreed to take stock in November. 
 
Democratic Republic of Congo 
---------------------------- 
 
¶5.  (SBU) The IMF said the DRC's performance under its SMP has been 
broadly satisfactory, and that a new PRGF could be in place in early 
¶2008.  If all goes well, the DRC could reach Completion Point at the 
time of the IMF Executive Board's first review of the PRGF in the 
second half of 2008.  The IMF reported that the authorities had 
signed a $5 billion "protocol" with China, of which $2 billion is 
for the development of copper mines and $3 billion for 
infrastructure projects.  The authorities claim the deal does not 
involve new debt; the IMF said the details are not clear.  Staff 
told the authorities that new non-concessional debt would complicate 
discussions on a new PRGF.  Creditors supported sending a letter to 
the authorities expressing concern about possible new 
non-concessional borrowing.  However they agreed to postpone sending 
the letter until after the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in October 
2007, in case new information comes to light.  The Netherlands and 
Italy commented that the Paris Club needs to restart efforts to 
engage China. 
 
Guinea 
------ 
 
¶6.  (U) The IMF said Guinea was making progress toward a new PRGF. 
The IMF is planning to ask for financing assurances in November, and 
negotiations on the resumption of interim HIPC relief could take 
place in December or January.  Russia reported significant arrears 
and asked whether Guinea was in a position to clear them.  The IMF 
said probably not, given that the country's foreign exchange 
reserves were equal to just two weeks of imports. 
 
Iraq 
---- 
 
¶7.  (SBU) Russia said the recent change in government in Moscow has 
slowed the process of concluding a bilateral agreement with Iraq to 
implement the terms of the 2004 Paris Club agreement. The Russian 
ministry of finance hoped that the bilateral could be signed by the 
end of the year, but the Russian delegate had no specific 
information.  The Secretariat asked the Russian delegate to 
communicate to Moscow the Club's impatience.  The Secretariat 
further noted that the deadline for concluding bilateral agreements 
was February 2006, and that one of the principles of the Paris Club 
was to not tie debt relief to other conditions. 
 
Jordan 
------ 
 
¶8.  (SBU) Creditors concluded an agreement with Jordan that will 
 
PARIS 00004399  003 OF 005 
 
 
allow Jordan to buy back its previously rescheduled non-ODA debt at 
an average discount to face value of 11%.  France, the United 
Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and 
Belgium indicated their intention to participate.  (Privately, 
Canada told us it would also participate.)  Together, these 
countries account for $2.2 billion of the $2.5 billion in eligible 
debt.  The United States' participation will require Congressional 
authorization.  Japan announced that it would not participate, 
citing a domestic law that prevents it from selling claims at less 
than face value to countries that are not in debt distress. 
 
¶9.  (SBU) The Secretariat, in its presentation to Paris Club 
creditors, noted that interest rates for emerging markets had fallen 
in recent weeks, implying a lower market-based discount than it had 
previously recommended.  Interest rate spreads above risk-free debt 
for countries rated BB (similar to Jordan) were trading between 
100-150 basis points above the risk-free rate, corresponding to a 
discount to face value between 2% and 5%. 
 
¶10.  (SBU) Creditors supported the Secretariat's analysis while 
indicating that they had flexibility to accept a somewhat higher 
discount.  After several rounds of negotiations lasting into the 
early morning, Jordan accepted the Paris Club's final offer of 11 
percent, which corresponded to a spread of 282 basis points over 
risk-free "swap" rates -- around twice the Secretariat's initial 
recommendation.  The U.S. did not sign the agreement, but instead 
provided a side letter (see para 13) indicating support for the 
operation and its plans to seek legislative authority to 
participate. 
 
Liberia 
------- 
 
¶11.  (SBU) The IMF said a financing shortfall remains for clearing 
Liberia's arrears to the international financial institutions 
(IFIs).  The United States, Norway and Germany urged other countries 
to help close the gap.  The Netherlands continued to question 
whether Liberia had a strategy in place to deal with its private 
creditors, especially litigating creditors.  The IMF and the World 
Bank discussed the possibility of using the International 
Development Association's (IDA) Debt Reduction Facility to address 
the private sector debt.  Both the World Bank and the Secretariat 
flagged the tension between the Paris Club requirement of comparable 
treatment by all creditors and the possibility that offering a 
higher price to private creditors might help prevent litigation 
costs from undermining the benefits of debt reduction.  (The "common 
reduction factor" -- the amount of cancellation necessary to bring 
Liberia's debt to a "sustainable level", and the figure that will be 
part of the Paris Club agreement -- is a very high 97 percent.)  The 
Secretariat confirmed that if, as expected, Liberia reaches HIPC 
 
SIPDIS 
Decision Point around the time the PRGF is approved, the Paris Club 
will provide a flow treatment on Cologne terms (thus bypassing a 
Naples treatment).  Given Liberia's large arrears, a Cologne flow 
treatment will result in significant stock cancellation.  Short-term 
and post-cutoff debt will likely have to be deferred and moratorium 
 
PARIS 00004399  004 OF 005 
 
 
interest capitalized.  The World Bank noted that while it will have 
provided the bulk of its HIPC relief commitments at Decision Point, 
it does intend to provide grants to Liberia during the interim 
relief period to help Liberia service its World Bank debts. 
 
Serbia/Montenegro/Kosovo 
------------------------ 
 
¶12.  (SBU) Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Djelic told Paris Club 
Chairman Musca that Serbia intends to stop servicing debt owed by 
Kosovo if final status talks result in Kosovo's independence. 
Djelic asked Musca to ask the EU-US-Russia Troika to facilitate the 
debt reconciliation process, so that Serbia can determine which 
debts to allocate to Kosovo.  The Secretariat, noting that Kosovo 
has little debt service capacity, said creditors might wish to 
consider either not invoicing or perhaps granting Kosovo a deferral 
similar to what creditors provided to countries affected by the 
Asian tsunami.  The Netherlands, supported by Japan, said it was 
premature to discuss any such treatment.  If Serbia discontinues 
debt service before it has concluded new bilateral agreements with 
its creditors, it will be in default.  In addition, the Netherlands 
expressed concern that Serbia will be tempted to dump most of its 
debt on Kosovo.  To prevent this outcome, bilateral agreements must 
reflect an apportionment of the debt according to the 
debtor/guarantor principle rather than the final beneficiary 
principle preferred by the Serbians.  The Secretariat responded that 
it would be politically difficult to insist that Serbia continue to 
service Kosovo's debt after final status, and noted that the 
Ahtisaari report recommended dividing debt on the beneficiary 
principle, but provided for other arrangements if mutually agreed. 
Rather than allow Serbia to dictate the reconciliation process based 
on its own debt figures, the Secretariat urged creditors to provide 
loan documentation to both Belgrade and Pristina.  The Secretariat 
will draft a letter to the Troika requesting that it facilitate the 
debt reconciliation process.  The Netherlands, Sweden, and 
Switzerland complained that Serbia and Montenegro still had not 
concluded new bilateral agreements apportioning Serbian and 
Montenegrin debt according to the debtor/guarantor principle.  The 
Secretariat said it stood ready to send a letter to the authorities 
 
SIPDIS 
in Belgrade and Podgorica. 
 
Comparability of treatment 
-------------------------- 
 
¶13.  (SBU) There was no resolution to the comparability of treatment 
controversy.  In the end, the Jordan buyback agreement (which the 
U.S. did not sign) contained the same comparability of treatment 
clause that was included in the July 2007 Gabon buyback agreement 
(supplemented by an internal Paris Club "Chairman's summary") 
stating that no consensus could be reached and that use of the Gabon 
clause a second time did not constitute a precedent.  The Chairman's 
summary went on to list various criteria by which "those creditors 
having signed the agreement with Jordan" (e.g., not the United 
States or several other countries that did not sign because they are 
not creditors) would assess a future early repayment offer by 
 
PARIS 00004399  005 OF 005 
 
 
Jordan.  The United States reiterated its objection to the notion 
that future early repayment offers must be approved by consensus. 
 
PEKALA