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Coup calls into question debt relief for Sudan — France

By AFP - Nov 07,2021 - Last updated at Nov 07,2021

PARIS — The military coup in Sudan has called into question the so-called Paris Club process allowing rich countries to cancel the African country's debt, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

A deal was reached by the club of around 20 wealthy countries on July 15, cancelling much of the debt owed by Sudan to help it back into the international fold. 

"It is evident that the military coup of October 25 calls this process into question," the ministry said in a statement, five months after Paris decided to wipe nearly $5 billion dollars off the debt owed by Sudan.

In late October, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, Sudan's de facto leader since Omar Al Bashir was ousted in 2019, dissolved the government, detained civilian leaders, and declared a state of emergency. 

Sudan is wheezing under nearly $60 billion of debt, 40 per cent of which — or $23.5 billion — is held by the Paris Club. 

Under the July agreement, the Paris Club decided to cancel $14.1 billion of that debt and reschedule the rest. 

At some point in the future, most of the rescheduled debt was likely to be cancelled as well. 

Sudan piled up heavy foreign debts under al-Bashir, who was ousted in an April 2019 palace coup following mass protests. 

But in order for the debt to be cancelled, Khartoum had to fulfil two conditions — clear its arrears with multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the African Development Bank, and implement "economic reforms showing the seriousness and rigour of the authorities", the French ministry said on Friday.

"France has supported the democratic transition process in Sudan since the beginning in 2019. In this context, it has been an unwavering partner of this country, in all areas of cooperation," the statement said. 

"The Sudanese debt cancellation process was part of it."

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