Friday, September 22, 2006


Russia reduces Iraq's debt

Russia will sign an agreement formalizing its forgiveness of the bulk of Iraq's multibillion-dollar debt within a few months, news agencies quoted the finance minister as saying Sunday.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, speaking in Singapore after a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart, said officials were working out details of the agreement, ITAR-Tass and Interfax reported.
When the Paris Club of creditor nations agreed in 2004 to write off 80 per cent of Iraq's debts, President Vladimir Putin said Russia had gone a step further by forgiving some 90 per cent of what Iraq owed, reducing its debt to Moscow to about US$1 billion (euro800 million).
Kudrin also said that once the deal is signed, Iraq will owe about US$1 billion, according to the reports. Putin, who is seeking to improve ties and restore Russia's influence in the world, has agreed to drastically reduce the debt owed to Moscow by several Mideast nations, much of it left over from the Soviet era. The decision to write off Iraqi debt was seen in part as an effort to improve Russian companies' chances of winning contracts in Iraq in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion it strongly opposed

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