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Russian parliament ratifies bill to settle Syria’s $3.6 bln debt

The lower house of the Russian parliament ratified on Friday an intergovernmental agreement with Syria on settling the country’s $3.6 billion Soviet-era debt to Russia.

In 2005, Russia agreed to write off 73% of Syria’s Soviet-era debt in the amount of around $14.5 billion, and to reschedule repayment of the remainder. Syria’s debt to Russia accrued as a result of Soviet arms deliveries to Damascus. Under an intergovernmental agreement reached with Russia, Syria has to repay $1.5 billion in convertible currency over a period of 10 years and $2.1 billion in Syrian pounds, with these funds expected to go into the implementation of joint projects (