G7 finance ministers have backed plans to write off up to 100% of the debts of some of the world's poorest countries. UK chancellor Gordon Brown said the London meeting of the world's seven richest nations would be remembered as "the 100% debt relief summit". Some 37 countries could benefit after a case-by-case review by bodies including the World Bank and the IMF, he said.
But the US says it cannot support Mr Brown's International Finance Facility to boost aid to developing countries. "We could be at the beginning of the final stage of the process where the debts that were owed by the poorest countries, built up over 20 or 30 years, debts that are simply unpayable in the real world, are finally taken care of," he said. He added: "It is the richest countries hearing the voices of the poor."
But he said they would insist on government reforms and the need for transparency, tackling corruption and openness from both the poorest and richest nations.