First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais was in Paris yesterday to sign an agreement on Russia’s admission to the Paris Club, the 18-member group of creditor nations. Chubais told a press conference that membership will resolve outstanding issues of Russia’s inherited debt owed both by and to the Soviet Union, and make it possible for many claims previously dealt with on a bilateral basis to be resolved within the formal structure of the Paris Club. He predicted that the volume of repayments to Russia by debtor countries will triple from the present level of around $150 million to $200 million per year to between $500 million and $700 million per year. He said Russia will grant discounts ranging between 30 percent and 80 percent on the debt owed to it, with the higher rates going to the poorest countries, "but this means that, instead of some abstract $52 billion, Russia will now get a quite real $12 billion." Chubais also announced that Russia’s partners in the London Club of creditor banks will meet in Moscow on October 6 to sign documents rescheduling commercial bank debt. He said the agreements will strengthen Russia’s position on financial markets and that Russia may ask ratings agencies to increase its debt rating, making it easier for Russian firms to do business on world markets. (Itar-Tass, Reuter, September 17)
Status of Chechnya Candidly Addressed.