Britain, France mobilise 4.0 bln dlrs for poor countries

ISTANBUL: Britain and France said Saturday they would mobilise four billion dollars (2.7 billion euros) for poor countries by giving up part of a recent IMF allocation of an international reserve asset.

The two countries said they would each donate 2.0 billion dollars (1.37 billion euros) in special drawing rights (SDRs), a special asset of the International Monetary Fund, as loan resources to the fund to help support lending to low-income countries hit hard by the global and financial crisis.

Britain and France, members of the Group of Seven richest countries, made the announcement as G7 finance chiefs met in Istanbul ahead of IMF and World Bank annual meetings.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn welcomed the plan to help support the streamlined lending for poor countries, which he has called the "innocent victims" of a global crisis not of their making.

"This is incredibly helpful for low-income countries," Strauss-Kahn told reporters. "It's a beginning and I hope that other countries including the richest countries in the world will follow the same route."