UPDATE 1-Zambia foreign minister says discussed debt with Chinese counterpart

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LUSAKA, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Zambia’s Foreign Affairs minister Stanely Kakubo said on Wednesday he had discussed the refinancing of Chinese debt with the China’s foreign affairs minister.

“We are discussing issues to do with how that debt can be re-negotiated by the minister of finance,” Kakubo told parliament, adding the conversation had taken place in a recent telephone call.

Zambia has $14.4 billion of debt it needs to renegotiate, including guarantees for state-owned enterprises. Of that, roughly $3 billion is made up of eurobonds, around $6 billion is owed to China and its banks, $2.3 billion to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the rest to other bilateral creditors.

The country is trying to reach a support agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Reaching a deal with the fund would enable Zambia to discuss the re-arrangement of its national debt with its creditors, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said on Wednesday.

China remained Zambia’s key partner and the government intended to continue strengthening bilateral and multilateral ties to promote investment, Kakubo said. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Emma Rumney and Alex Richardson)