US will push for progress on debt restructuring, says Yellen in Paris

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Washington plans another “push” on Thursday for creditors to grant relief and restructure debts of poor and developing coun-tries, according to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

“At this summit, the United States will continue to push for the full and speedy participation of all bilateral creditors in debt negotia-tions,” Yellen said, in remarks prepared for a news conference in Paris.

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“A key pillar of economic stability is debt sustainability,” said Yellen, adding, “the international community must come together to support countries that are currently in crisis.”

The remarks were ahead of a summit organized by French President Emmanuel Macron aimed at building a “new consensus” among nations that combines tackling poverty with confronting climate change.

China, a major global creditor, has come under scrutiny for its lack of participation in multilateral efforts to ease the debt burden on developing countries.

Yellen remarked that she was “encouraged” by progress on Zambia, saying she hoped debt treatment for the African country “can move forward soon.” She also highlighted Ghana and Sri Lanka as countries that should receive “timely debt treatment in line with their financing assurances.”

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on Wednesday expressed confidence his government will secure a debt restructur-ing plan at the Paris gathering.

Yellen also said she would continue to seek support for an “evolution initiative” for the World Bank to steer additional resources to combatting climate change.

The World Bank should “develop a framework and principles for the targeted use of concessional resources -- so that financing to address global challenges is deployed to where it has the highest impact,” she said.

“We would also like to see the World Bank offer borrowers the option to add climate-resilient debt clauses to their loan agreements.”

A hundred countries are expected at the two-day gathering on Thursday, including 50 heads of state.

“I can feel it as I receive confirmation of participation and messages from our partners,” Macron tweeted on Wednesday. “We can make a huge difference for the plant and against poverty.”

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