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Russia signs deal to settle its $129.2 mln Soviet-era debt to Slovenia

Russia and Slovenia signed an intergovernmental agreement on Tuesday to settle Moscow’s $129.2 million Soviet-era debt to Ljubljana, a Russian deputy finance minister said on Tuesday.

Sergei Storchak said after the signing ceremony that under the deal, the debt will be repaid with Russian machinery supplies, which are to be arranged over a period of three years. In September 2003 Russia, which took on the Soviet Union’s entire foreign debt, signed a multilateral memorandum with the five successor countries of the former Yugoslavia on Soviet-era debt totaling 1.292 billion “clearing dollars” (units of payment with limited convertibility used in trade agreements for buying goods), and agreed on a clearing dollar rate of $0.625, giving the debt a total value of $800 million.

Apart from the debt to Slovenia, Russia’s debt to the former Yugoslavia included 200.3 million ($125.2 million) owed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, 96.9 million ($60.6 million) to Macedonia, 490.9 million ($306.8 million) to Serbia and Montenegro, and $297.1 million ($185.7 million) to Croatia.

 Storchak said a debt agreement is still to be reached with Bosnia and Herzegovina and that Russia wants the debt the country’s government owes to Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom to be taken into account in resolving the debt issue. The Russian-Slovenian document was signed ahead of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Ljubljana scheduled for November 14 to discuss Russian-EU dialogue prior to Slovenia’s taking over rotating presidency in the European Union on January 1. (rian.ru)