WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eighteen of the poorest nations will have their debts to the International Monetary Fund wiped out after rich countries bridged differences on Saturday that threatened a pact first signed this summer.
Leaders of the Group of Eight nations pledged at a July meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, to cancel all debt owed to the international institutions by the world's poorest states, an agreement roughed out by their finance ministers the month before.
But some smaller European countries like the Netherlands were worried the G8 would not stump up the extra cash needed and that the commitment would undermine the existing resources of the World Bank and IMF.
Faced with the possible collapse of the deal at this weekend's annual meetings of the two institutions in Washington, the G8 on Friday promised additional money would be available, overcoming the smaller countries' objections.
"The world has come together," said Chancellor Gordon Brown who has personally championed the debt write-off and chairs the IMF's steering group, the International Monetary and Financial Committee.
You'll recall Bush touted this policy during his last State of the Union address.
So one wonders why he wasn't in Washington when this accord was struck?