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    Russia starts talks on loan to Iceland

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    Russia started talks with Iceland on Tuesday on granting a 4 billion euro ($5.4 billion) loan to help the Nordic country through its financial woes, the Russian Finance Ministry said.

    MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia started talks with Iceland on Tuesday on granting a 4 billion euro ($5.4 billion) loan to help the Nordic country through its financial woes, the Russian Finance Ministry said.

    The delegation arrived in Moscow late on Monday for a series of meetings to agree terms for a loan that would allow Iceland's government to shore up its shaky national currency, the krona, which has lost about a quarter of its value against the euro since the start of the year.

    "The delegation from Iceland is in the Finance Ministry. The negotiations are ongoing," a ministry spokesman said.

    Iceland's Central Bank said on October 7 that Russia had agreed to grant it a 4 billion euro loan. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Russia treated Iceland's loan request favorably, but that a decision on whether to grant the loan would only be made after negotiations.

    Iceland's Central Bank said the duration of the loan would be three to four years, carrying interest ranging from 30 to 50 basis points over LIBOR.

    The bank said the loan would significantly bolster Iceland's foreign exchange reserves, strengthening the stability of the krona in the face of the unfolding global financial crisis, which has hit Iceland particularly hard.

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