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    UNITED STATES DELAYS ALLOCATIONS FOR RUSSIAN WAR GASES DESTRUCTION

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    WASHINGTON, APRIL 7. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- The United States is delaying allocating sums for the destruction of chemical weapons in Russia, Sergei Stepashin, head of the Russian Audit Chamber, told the press conference in the Russian embassy in Washington.

    The American congress has sanctioned, under the Nunn-Lugar programme, allocating sums to Russia for the utilisation of chemical weapons in Schuchye (Kurgan region, Russia's Ural federal district) and in the Saratov region (Volga federal district). The sum is approximately 4 billion dollars. In early April Russia was to get the first tranche of 130 million dollars.

    "A braking has happened. They have insisted, particularly, on getting additional information about the presence of chemical weapons", Stepashin said.

    The United States also links the allocation of money with the 1998 financial meltdown, he said.

    Sergei Kirienko, current chairman of the State Commission for the Destruction of Chemical Weapons, was the Russian prime minister during the 1998 financial crisis.

    "American congressmen say that the 4.8 billion dollars allocated (by the IMF) to the Russian government in July 1998 three weeks before the default were spent in an unknown way", Stepashin said.

    He said he documentary proved to his colleague Comptroller of the Currency David Walker and Senator Richard Lugar that the sums had been duly spent.

    "In 1999 the Audit Chamber checked the realisation of the credit. The audit company PriceWaterHouse also made a check at IMF request. We and the international auditors confirmed that all the moneys had reached to the destination", Stepashin noted.

    "The sums have not been misspent. It's different that the credit could not help the Russian government to bar the default", said the head of the Russian Audit Chamber.

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