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Cong. Cole Asks France, Germany and Russia to Help Rebuild Iraq

April 11, 2003
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Cole, introduced legislation (H. Resolution 198) urging France, Germany and Russia to help Iraq in its rebuilding process by forgiving the debts of the regime of Saddam Hussein to their respective countries.

"The United States paid for the liberation of Iraq with blood and treasure. All we are asking others to do is to forgive debts that are a burden to the people of Iraq and a hindrance to the swift reconstruction of the nation," Cole said.

"Such a gesture would demonstrate that France, Germany and Russia are serious about playing a constructive role in the rebuilding of Iraq. It would also reassure the American people that, whatever our recent differences over the liberation of the Iraqi people, these countries are reliable partners in the hard job of reconstruction that lies ahead," Cole remarked.

Cole noted that the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, had recently suggested that debt forgiveness would be a helpful way in which countries that had not assisted in toppling Saddam could now help the Iraqi people. "Congress should reinforce this message by going on record in favor of debt forgiveness for Iraq," Cole said.

"Frankly, forcing the Iraqi people to pay for debts run up by Saddam is both immoral and unwise. France, Germany and Russia now have an opportunity to practice the enlightened statesmanship they so often urge others to purse. I trust they will seize this opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the well being of Iraq and the success of democracy in the Middle East."

Currently the original co-sponsors are: Congressman J.D. Hayworth (AZ-06); Congressman Wally Herger (CA-02); Congressman Gresham Barrett (SC-03); Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04); Congressman Todd Tiahrt (KA-04); Congressman Rob Simmons (CT-02); Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-01); Jerry Weller (IL-11); Jim Gibbons (NV-02) and; Congressman Mike Turner (OH-03).