Leaders from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia say they are prepared to consider substantially reducing billions of dollars of debt owed to their countries by Iraq.
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz says Riyadh will enter into negotiations. But he added that there would be no reduction until there is an internationally-recognized Iraqi government. He spoke Wednesday after talks with U-S special envoy James Baker.
Mr. Baker earlier visited Kuwait, where he secured a pledge from Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah to cut Iraq's debt if his country's parliament approves. On Tuesday, Mr. Baker won similar pledges from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
But Kuwait's Sheikh al-Sabah made clear that the issue of Iraqi debt does not include war reparations owed Kuwait from 1990, when Saddam Hussein's military invaded the tiny state, starting a seven-month occupation. He also said debt forgiveness would be negotiated only with an internationally-recognized Iraqi government.
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb has injured at least 10 people near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The device exploded near a U-S military convoy. U-S military officials in Iraq confirmed that three American soldiers were among the wounded. Hospital and police officials say six Iraqis and a Turkish national were also injured.