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Moscow seeks early repayment of $1.3 bln debt to S.Korea

MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Finance Ministry has proposed that the country's $1.3 billion Soviet-era debt to South Korea be paid off ahead of schedule, a government source said on Monday.

"Under the current agreement, the debt is to be repaid by 2025. It is being proposed that the debt be paid off with commodity deliveries by 2012, or in cash," he said, adding that in the second case the debt could be repaid this year or next.

He said the government would make a decision to start early debt repayment talks within a month.

Russia said last June it had offered Seoul dual-purpose technical equipment, for example, helicopters, as a form of paying off the debt.

South Korea granted Russia a $1.47 billion loan in 1991. The parties later agreed that some of the debt would be paid off in deliveries of manufactured goods, including weapons.

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