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New Loans Issued by World Bank Hit Record Level

Associated Press

New loans approved by the World Bank, the biggest source of aid to Third World countries, reached a record $21.9 billion in the year that ended Friday, up from $19.2 billion the year before, the bank announced Sunday.

Bank Vice President Moeen Qureshi predicted that the total would be about $1.75 billion higher in the year to come.

In the past year, the bank’s own loans attracted an additional $9.3 billion from other lenders, up from $6.5 billion last year.

The figure would have been higher if the bank’s board of executive directors--representing the United States and 150 other governments--had approved $780 million worth of loans scheduled for China in June.

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Bank President Barber Conable, a former New York congressman, deferred voting on the loans to China after Chinese troops suppressed pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing. Then President Bush asked for a delay.

The United States is the largest contributor to the World Bank.

Qureshi, a Pakistani, called the events in China “very distressing.”

He added that the delay was not a sanction and the loans would be reconsidered later in consultation with the Chinese government, a World Bank member.

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Qureshi estimated that last year the bank received $1 billion more in repayments and interest than it loaned out. Qureshi said the figures include prepayments of $1.4 billion from Romania, $700 million from South Korea and $400 million from Thailand. Without those repayments, the official said, the bank would have disbursed more money than it took in.


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