Source AP ©

Bulgaria to recover 360 million dollars debt from Iraq

The Bulgarian Finance Ministry said Monday that Iraq was set to pay down US$360 million (EUR247 million) in debts owed to Bulgaria.

The payment, to be made in 2008, follows a bilateral agreement that revised Iraq's total debt to Bulgaria from US$1.86 billion (EUR1.27 billion) to US$3.5 billion (EUR2.4 billion), in exchange for Bulgaria's accepting a one-time cash payment at a ratio of 10.25 cents on the dollar.

"Bulgaria is the first country to settle its receivables through a one-time cash payment," the ministry said in a statement.

The deal for a remittal of 80 percent of the debt followed a suggestion by the Paris Club of creditor nations after two years of negotiations, the ministry said.

Iraq's debt to Bulgaria accumulated during the Cold War years when the two countries were close economic partners. Bulgaria over the years has exported weapons to Iraq and played a major role in building infrastructure.

International sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait had prevented Bulgaria from collecting the debt previously. Bulgaria has had forces in Iraq since 2003.

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