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U.S. Cancels $1.4M Belize Debt

August 2, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States agreed Thursday to cancel a portion of Belize’s debt in return for conserving 23,000 acres of tropical forest.

The agreement provides Belize with $1.4 million in debt relief and will allow it to save $10 million in interest payments over 26 years, the Treasury Department said.

``President Bush is very much behind these kinds of arrangements,″ said John Taylor, Treasury’s under secretary for international affairs.

Belize is the third nation to benefit from a 1998 law that provides certain countries the opportunity to reduce some of the debt they owe the United States and use the savings for forest conservation activities.

Last month, Bush announced a similar deal with El Salvador. Last year, the Clinton administration announced an agreement with Bangladesh.

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