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Sri Lanka trying to reduce overall debt by $17 bln, President says

COLOMBO, April 26 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka is trying to reduce its overall debt by $17 billion through restructuring, its president told the parliament on Wednesday as he sought support of opposition parties for a nearly $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also said the country would discuss debt restructuring with India and the Paris Club of creditors on one platform and with China separately.

Caught in its worst financial crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, the island nation of 22 million people secured an IMF loan last month.

Sri Lanka owes $7.1 billion to bilateral creditors, according to official government data, with $3 billion owed to China, $2.4 billion to the Paris Club and $1.6 billion to India.

Wickremesinghe said no final decision had been taken yet on domestic debt restructuring.

Sri Lanka needs to accelerate growth to 6% or higher by 2028 or 2029 to repay debt and develop, he added.

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