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Grenada seeking funds from Libya

Published:Wednesday | May 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Grenada is seeking debt relief from Libya and assistance to repay a number of loans to the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China in Taiwan, Finance Minister Nizam Burke has announced.

He said that negotiations have begun between the Tillman Thomas administration and Muammar Gaddafi's government in Tripoli.

The Export-Import Bank issued a formal demand notice to the Thomas government last year, threatening to pursue all legal avenues to recover the outstanding US$26 million.

"We are presently in discussions with the government of Libya, seeking some relief there. We are in some discussions with respect to the Taiwanese debt," Burke told reporters.

"We have had very good discussions with them. Very good discussions. I would say those negotiations are at a fairly advanced stage".

A court in the United States had ordered the Grenada government to repay the money after the previous administration failed to service the loan.

The money owed includes loans taken to facilitate construction of the national athletic stadium, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, a complex to house government ministries, road construction as well as to revive the agriculture sector.

"We are not disposed to make any pronouncements until we have a final position on it. But I can say that the discussions have gone well. What we are seeking to do is to ask them to forgive that debt entirely," Burke said.

"Taiwan is presently owed over US$26 million. It is a very delicate matter. As you know, a judgment was obtained against Grenada and so some negotiations are ongoing," Burke said.

Grenada still owes Libya for helping to fund the construction of the Maurice Bishop International Airport.