Saturday, March 22, 2003

Jubilee South Africa - London Agreement

Media Statement
Thursday, 27 February 2003
Today, 27 February 2003, marks the 50th anniversary of the London Agreement, which dealt with the debts of the then West Germany. Western leaders and major international bankers met in London in 1953 were they provided extraordinary generous terms of debt cancellation to Germany for its 1st and 2nd world war debts. These Terms are in stark contrast to the harsh conditions imposed on heavily indebted countries in the South
"The contrast between the guilt behind the German debts and the innocence of most of the Third world debt could not be greater. Much of the third world debt lies in the recklessness of Western bankers, who in the 1970's deliberately unloaded surplus capital in the form of loans. Much of these aggressively marketed loans where "odious" in terms of international law and therefore not covered by the obligations of sovereign debt, while the debts of Germany where of a country perceived by the world to have been responsible for two world wars and the deaths of millions". Jubilee South Africa said in a statement issued today
"The London Agreement placed conditions on the creditors and not on indebted Germany, today's debt repayment schemes for the "third world" like "Highly Indebted Poor Country" initiative (HIPC), lay down strict economic criteria on countries for inclusion under the initiative and ignore to place conditions on creditors".
"The London Agreement was designed to promote Germany's reconstruction. A contemporary London Agreement, as part of an initiative for debt cancellation would go a long way towards freeing the Third World of its debt bondage in favour of its own legitimate reconstruction".
Today in South Africa, there will be an action in the Western Cape coinciding with yesterday's announcement of budget restrictions for the reconstruction of the lives of the poor.  The German Jubilee Campaign has called for a nation wide day of action today. In Frankfurt, Germany, at 11h00 -12h00 the German Campaign for the cancellation of Apartheid debt and reparations together with Church organisations, will hold a vigil outside of the Deutsche Bank and then unveil a plaque at the Marshall Fountain commemorating the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe post 2nd world war. The inscription reads "To the Victims of Debt".
For Comment please contact:
South Africa: MP Giyose, Chairperson Jubilee SA, cell: 082 350-0361, 046
6242557. Or, Germany: Christoph Beninde, German Campaign for Apartheid-Caused Debt
Cancellation and Reparations tel: + 49 521 986 4852, Theo Kneifel, tel: + 49
6221 4333 12, Gottfried Welmer, tel: +49 228 694792
For Further references to the London Agreement Consult
www.erlassjahr.de
<http://www.erlassjahr.de>