Latin American Debtor Nations To Push Talks at Political Level
Feb. 08, 1985
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ Latin America's 11 major debtor nations appeared to be leaning against pursuing joint negotiations with creditors over their combined $337 billion foreign debt on the final day of a regional debt conference Friday.
Participants said the nations probably would agree to continue negotiating individually and to seek concessions on debt repayments by persuading creditors to accept a share of responsibility for the region's economic problems.
They also said the nations were in agreement on reiterating their determination to repay their debts.
Salvador Jorge Blanco, president of the Dominican Republic, had proposed the nations form a bloc to renegotiate their debt repayments. But ministers said that was unlikely to happen.
''There is no way my country would agree to a proposal of that nature,'' said Modesto Collados, Chile's economy minister. ''A club of creditors is very different from a club of debtors.''
Collados said cooperation among creditor nations was natural, ''but the debtors should continue bilateral negotiations, based on what is determined or decided by the group (of creditors).''
Jesus Silva Herzog, Mexico's finance minister, said the ''dialogue'' the debtor nations wanted already had begun with the debt restructurings won by his country, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil. The four nations have a combined foreign debt of $179.4 billion.
He stressed, however, that additional progress was necessary in that dialogue.
''The countries of Latin America are in the first round of a fight that will go at least 15, because championship fights are scheduled for 15 rounds,'' Silva Herzog said.
''In the second, third or fourth round, we definitely will have to insist on a series of points,'' such as shared economic adjustments, longer repayment periods and resumption of the flow of funds into the region, he said.
Most participants expressed optimism after the first day of talks.
''We can see that the group is coming together more each time, and it is easier to reach a consensus on the topics we have been discussing,'' Brazilian Finance Minister Ernane Galveas said.
He added that he expected that tendency to continue in meetings scheduled for April in Washington with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The two-day meeting in Santo Domingo was a follow-up to talks last year in Cartagena, Colombia, and Mar del Plata, Argentina. The earlier meetings dispelled fears the Latin American group would declare a moratorium on repayment of its massive debt.
But the nations are seeking relief from their creditors from debt-servicing schedules that have been draining as much as 60 percent to 70 percent of total export earnings and paralyzing the internal development seen as the key to resolving the region's economic crisis.
A statement to be issued at the meeting's conclusion was expected to outline the direction the nations would take in future talks with the industrialized creditor countries, international lending agencies and the international banking community.