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From the Vatican Information Service

THE JUBILEE AND THE INTERNATIONAL DEBT CRISIS

VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 1998 (VIS) - Made public today was the following

appeal, dated September 29, of Archbishop Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan,

president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace:

"Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter 'Tertio Millennio Adveniente'

(n. 51), appealed to Christians to propose the Great Jubilee of the Year

2000 'as an appropriate moment to give thought, among other things, to

reducing substantially, if not canceling outright, the international debt

which seriously threatens the future of many nations'. The same appeal has

been taken up by other Christian leaders as well as by a very wide range of

individuals and organizations.

"On the occasion of the annual meetings of the Governors of the World

Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which begin in Washington next

week, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace renews its appeal to all

who hold responsibility in the international financial and development

fields for decisive progress on the debt issue. If the hopes of some many

people are to be realized by the year 2000, then the crucial decisions must

be taken now.

"The International Financial Institutions have drawn up an initiative for

the highly indebted poorest countries, the first of its kind to address the

debt problems of these countries in a comprehensive way. This initiative

requires wider support, especially from the wealthier nations. It must be

applied fully, more rapidly and in the most flexible manner possible.

"Today, the international economic order faces many challenges. The needs

of the poorest countries should be not considered second class. Decisive

intervention to resolve their debt problems and to attain lasting social

and economic development remains vital and cannot be postponed.

CON-IP/INTERNATIONAL DEBT/VAN THUAN VIS 981001 (300)

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