World Bank, IMF discuss debt relief

OTTAWA -- Concerned that the economic fallout from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has hit the poorest countries the hardest, World Bank and International Monetary Fund officials met Sunday to discuss debt relief and ways to reduce poverty in the developing world.

The meeting came a day after finance ministers from 19 countries and the European Union pledged to help countries at risk, including war-scarred Afghanistan and developing nations harmed by the global economic slowdown. While officials called the meeting of the World Bank and IMF policy makers a success, it produced no new steps to specifically address problems caused by economic stagnation worsened by the terrorist attacks.

With Argentina facing a possible debt default and Mexico considering an IMF line of credit designed to prevent an economic emergency, the IMF and World Bank policy makers said they would review existing programs to try to meet the challenges of a changed world.