Kudrin says Russia will repay $12 bln to Paris Club in 2006

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Russia will repay $12 billion of its Soviet-era debt to the Paris Club of Creditor Nations in 2006, the finance minister said Tuesday. "The former U.S.S.R.'s debt to the Paris Club totals $22 billion. The portion that the [Paris Club] nations are willing to accept, in our opinion, is around $12 billion," Alexei Kudrin told journalists

MOSCOW, June 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will repay $12 billion of its Soviet-era debt to the Paris Club of Creditor Nations in 2006, the finance minister said Tuesday.

"The former U.S.S.R.'s debt to the Paris Club totals $22 billion. The portion that the [Paris Club] nations are willing to accept, in our opinion, is around $12 billion," Alexei Kudrin told journalists.

Kudrin said Russia was ready to pay out the whole $22 billion, but knew that some countries were unlikely to want repayment at the current time and so had expected to redeem $12 billion.

The finance minister said consultations with Paris Club members were under way on the terms of the pre-schedule payment and added that talks involving all member states would be held in mid-June.

"After that, we will know the result," Kudrin said. "But I am optimistic."

The finance minister said May 25 that Russia's state debt would be brought down to 12% of gross domestic product in the next two years compared with the 2005 level of 20%.

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