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Russia to join cancellation of Liberia’s $700 mln debt

Russia will join efforts to write off Liberia’s $700 million debt to the World Bank, the Russian finance minister said on Monday.

Speaking at a session of the World Bank’s Development Committee, which urged donor governments to boost development aid, Alexei Kudrin said Russia’s exact contribution to Liberian debt relief had not yet been clarified. The committee session followed a meeting of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank’s sister organization. Kudrin said several initiatives were under discussion to fund debt relief for Liberia, which recently elected a president after a 14-year civil war. “The situation has stabilized, and there is optimism that the country will stabilize, but the loans earlier extended to it cannot yet be serviced. This is why the World Bank and some member countries will join efforts to write off this debt. Russia will also participate in this process. Russia is currently determining its contribution to the debt relief,” Kudrin said.

Russia has been stepping up measures to relieve debt of the world’s poorest nations in recent years. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said late in May that Russia had so far written off $11.3 billion of African nations’ debt, including $2.2 billion through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. HIPC is a framework created for creditors by the IMF and the World Bank to provide debt relief to the world’s poorest countries. (