Salvadoran Seeks Relief for Nation´s Foreign Debt

Spain Is First Nation to Accept Proposal

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SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, JAN. 23, 2001 (
President Francisco Flores of El Salvador has sent an SOS to the country´s creditors.

Flores asked specifically for longer terms, more flexible conditions, including cancellation of the debt, in order to cope with the devastating situation caused by the Jan. 13 earthquake.

«El Salvador will request the restructuring of its debt, hoping for the cancellation of what can be canceled,» the president said Monday, in statements published today by the newspaper La Prensa Grafica.

The president added that, under the present conditions of the debt, El Salvador would not be able to cope with the impact of the tragedy caused by the quake.

In fact, President José María Aznar of Spain, together with Enrique Iglesias, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, proposed the creation of a consultative group, which will permit the greatest possible reduction of El Salvador´s commitment to its creditors. Hence, Spain became the first country to offer to negotiate the cancellation of El Salvador´s bilateral foreign debt.

The announcement was made by Bernabe Aguilar, Spanish consul in El Salvador, and Alejandro Lago, head of the Emergency Unit of the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation.

President Flores said the total amounted to $30 million; he had no objections to begin procedures to formalize the Spanish offer.

According to the Emergency Committee, the quake has affected more than 1 million people — one out of every six Salvadorans.

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