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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the size was of the bilateral debt owed by Iraq to the UK, which was reported to the (a) US Treasury and (b) the Paris Club; and what the value is of the frozen assets of the previous regime in Iraq under UK management. [122777]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: As part of the exercise to establish the extent of Iraq's external debt, the Paris Club has been advised that unrecovered ECGD claims amount to some £625 million, plus an estimated interest accruing over the past 12 years of around £525 million.Until the recent lifting of sanctions under UN SCR 1483, a total of US $648 million was estimated to be frozen in the UK under the Iraq (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2000. Under the terms of the Iraq (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2003, only the assets of Saddam Hussein, his associates and certain entities of the former regime remain frozen. If such assets are located in UK financial institutions, they may be subject to prior claims. As a result it is not possible at this stage to estimate what amounts will eventually be held by UK financial institutions. However the terms of UNSCR 1483 require all remaining assets associated with Saddam's regime to be transferred to the Development Fund for Iraq.