The decision by Western creditor nations to forgive nearly $17 billion of Polish debt and slash payments by 80 percent prompted relief Saturday and hope that more foreigners will invest in Poland.

The Paris Club, an informal group of creditor nations, announced Friday that members would write off half the $33.5 billion of Polish debt they hold, and said some members might go ever further.Meanwhile, interest payments over the next three years are to be restructured to reduce Poland's annual obligations by 80 percent.

No other country has ever received such large debt relief, and the Paris Club statement stressed that Poland was an extraordinary case.