The Lebanese Minister of State for Combating Corruption, Nicola Tueni, said that the debts approved by Iraq are due from 2003 and other years before, and belong to legal persons and Lebanese industrial and commercial companies.
“These debts have been accumulating since the days of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1993, when Iraq was trapped and the United Nations established the oil-for-food program. On this basis, more than one Lebanese company entered to work in Iraq, and some of these Lebanese companies faced more problems with delivery times. ”
Tueni pointed out that during the period of strikes against Iraq and beyond, “many Lebanese traders had requests in the sea destined for Iraq damaged by the strike, some of which were damaged, while others did not catch the Lebanese merchants the price or could not deliver.
The Lebanese minister explained that these goods are estimated to cost “about one billion dollars according to the prices of the year 1993. These Lebanese requests extend from 1993 until after 2003.”
“The Iraqi authorities have finally recognized the post-occupation period from 2003 to today,” Tueni said, adding that Baghdad “does not deny the accumulated debt since 1993, it recognizes it, but with a difference is a point of disagreement between us” .
“The Iraqi authorities say they want to pay the money due in 1993 but according to the treatment of the Paris Club, which says that there is an agreement between all the countries that owe it to Iraq, namely Russia, France and England,” the Lebanese minister said. And America and China are required to write off their debts owed to them from Iraq from 1993 to 2003 provided that Iraq pays only 10 percent of these debts.
“The Iraqi side wants to accept Lebanon to be treated in the same way,” Tueni said, adding that 10 per cent of his debt, which is estimated to be worth $ 1 billion, is to be collected during this period. But Lebanon refuses to apply this agreement because the accumulated debts of Iraq to Lebanon are debts owed to individuals and companies, and the Lebanese state demands debt on behalf of the Lebanese citizen and serve the Lebanese society, industry and trade.
The Lebanese minister pointed out that the mobilization of the debt file now is due to “the deterioration of the situation in Iraq, as this was not possible in the past, Iraq was subjected to siege and then to the strike and occupation … Thus, the security situation there was not favorable,” adding: “Today We have begun to restore the rights of Lebanese companies and institutions to the Republic of Iraq. ”
On the value of total debt, Tueni said that “the 1993 debt is estimated at $ 1 billion and receivables from 2003 are also estimated at $ 1 billion.”
“The Lebanese minister said that Beirut is now seeking to demand interest on these amounts because the value of the currency has changed and the companies (estimated at 153 companies) that lost their day or did not pay their money continued to pay the debts owed to banks.