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Russia has agreed with the Paris Club of creditor countries to repay part of its debt ahead of schedule
The details of the agreement are not yet being disclosed and will not become known until after an official signing of the agreement, which is slated for Friday. Earlier, sources in the Paris Club had reported that the negotiated sum may be as big as $15 billion, which is about one-third of Russian debt to the club's creditor countries. According to official information of the Russian Finance Ministry, Russia's debt to the Paris Club is just over $43 billion. The main problem during the negotiations was terms for the early repayment of part of Russian debt, since the creditor countries did not want to lose interest payments due to them for debt servicing. Russia started official talks with the Paris Club on an early repayment of its debt on Wednesday, said Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. He emphasized that Russia is paying high interest on this debt, and in the event of its redemption it may save tens of millions of dollars. Earlier the Western and Russian press often carried reports quoting unnamed sources that the principal problem at consultations between Russia and the Paris Club is the demand of Paris Club states for a bonus, while the Russian side is insisting on a discount. The Russian Finance Ministry did not comment officially on these reports, citing the fact that the consultations are continuing and the sides' final positions have not yet been worked out. At the same time, during his visit to Washington to attend the spring session of the IMF and the World Bank in April, Kudrin expressed confidence that Russia would succeed in obtaining an agreement on the early repayment of debt to the Paris Club on conditions acceptable to the country. According to the Russian Finance Ministry, as of January 1, 2005 Russia's Paris Club debt totaled $43.1 billion, including about $18 billion to Germany. The overall sum of Russia's external debt as of January 1, 2005 is estimated by the Finance Ministry at $114 billion
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