SECURITIES FOR DEBTS: RUSSIA HASN'T YET MADE OFFER TO PARIS CLUB, SAYS KUDRIN

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MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has not yet offered to the Paris creditors' club to exchange its debts to club member countries into securities, though Russian experts are consulting their club secretariat colleagues on the matter, said Alexei Kudrin, Finance Minister. He was addressing the media after talks with Nicolas Sarkozy, his French counterpart.

The issue did not come up at the negotiation table. The agenda concerned other matters-joint stances on Iraqi and other countries' debts to the Paris club. Also under debate were certain aspects of a G8 finance-ministerial conference, due in Washington, D.C., early October. The negotiators also appraised Russia's prospects for G8 chairmanship, scheduled for 2006.

"We are willing to offer Russia every assistance, considering its upcoming G8 chairmanship," reassured Mr. Sarkozy.

The negotiators also appreciated prospects for greater economic closeness of Russia and France, Alexei Kudrin went on. "Mr. Sarkozy promised to personally contribute to making his present visit a landmark, and provide a spectacular Franco-Russian rapprochement, especially where the two countries stances on business were concerned."

The Paris club brings together 18 countries. Russia's lump debt to them was roughly evaluated at $46 billion, as of January 1. Last June, Germany announced it was exchanging a part of the Russian debt, approximately $20 billion, into promissory notes.

In a joint press release of June 24, Germany's Finance Ministry, the Deutschebank and the Goldman Sachs said they were issuing promissory notes nominated in US dollars and euros, to be tied in with Russian payments to Germany. The notes are to be paid in 2007, 2009 and 2014. 2025 is the deadline for Russian debt payments to the Paris club.

Mr. Kudrin first announced the Russian government's intention eventually to exchange its Paris club debt into securities, August 26.

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