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Iraq's finance minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi: Restructuring debt is top priority

Last year, at the IMF meetings in Dubai, the Iraqi delegation was led by Adil Abdul Mahdi. At the time, he was already a leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the leading Shiite party in the country. <br> <br> Today, Mahdi is minister of finance in Iraq's interim government, charged with restructuring the country's debts before the end of the year. Here, he speaks to Euromoney in his first detailed comments on the subject since he took office.

Adil Abdul Mahdi

Seeking forgiveness of Saddam-era debt

Litigation risk for years to come

Is any of Iraq's sovereign debt odious debt that can or should be repudiated entirely?

Iraq's need for very substantial debt relief derives from the economic realities facing a post-conflict country that has endured decades of financial corruption and mismanagement under the Saddam regime.

Principles of public international law such as the odious debt doctrine, whatever their legal vitality, are not the reason why Iraq is seeking this relief.

Is the interim government planning to restructure Iraq's sovereign debt now that the UN Security Council has given you the express authority to do so?

Restructuring Iraq's external debt is a very high priority of the interim government. UN Security Council Resolution No 1546 of June 8 2004 specifically encourages the interim government and Iraq's creditors to get on with this task.

What percentage of Iraq's oil revenues would be a reasonable amount to spend on foreign debt service in the future?  Do you expect that number to increase over time?

Iraq must rebuild its civil infrastructure, including the oil sector, virtually from the ground up. 

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