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    RUSSIA INTENDS TO FORGIVE A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF MONGOLIA'S DEBT TO THE USSR

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    ULAN-BATOR, January 13, 2004(RIA Novosti) -- At the close of the negotiations with Mongolia's Luvsangiin Erdenechuluun, Russia's Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, announced Tuesday at a press conference in Ulan-Bator that the resolution of the debt issue had opened new opportunities in all spheres of Russian-Mongolian business interaction, including that of investment.

    "The decision to write off Mongolia's Soviet debt takes into consideration the interests of both countries," Mr. Ivanov noted. "We have taken an important step forward and have closed an old chapter in our common history, this is significant both economically and politically." According to Mr. Ivanov, Russia's concession of a large portion of the Soviet-era debt demonstrates the special relations with Mongolia, an understanding of the current situation in the country and the benefits reaped by friendly neighboring states.

    By addressing debt issues on time, Mongolia has demonstrated to the world community its responsible approach to international obligations. In Mr. Ivanov's opinion, the debt write-off will help strengthen Russian-Mongolian ties overall.

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