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French Version

Syria's foreign debt cut to 10 percent of GDP

Syria's foreign debt has been cut to less than 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) following a deal struck by Damascus and Moscow, a senior economic official said in comments published Thursday.

"The foreign debt now represents less than 10 percent of GDP and close to 8 percent of total exports," said the president of the state planning organization, Abdullah Dardari, quoted in the official daily Ath-Thawra.

During a visit to Moscow this week by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia agreed to write off more than 70 percent of the $13 billion of Syrian debt, mainly incurred from arms purchases during the Soviet era.

Dardari said his country also wanted to settle its debts to Bulgaria and Romania as part of efforts "to turn a new page in economic and commercial relations with Eastern Europe."

Beirut,01 31 2005
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The Daily Star
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