Prime Minister comments on peak debt payments

The problem of the so-called peak payments on the foreign debt of Russia in2003 is not insurmountable, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov statedat the opening of today's government meeting. He mentioned that next yearthis sum would be $17bn, while this year the amount of the foreign debt tobe repaid is $14.5bn. According to Kasyanov, "the gap is not very large".Some time ago, the problem of 2003 payments was discussed as the most acuteone; today, it is clear that it is 'solvable', the Prime Ministerstressed.As for the major principles of the budget policy in 2003, Kasyanov focusedon a reduction of the tax burden and the inflation rate and the executionof peak payments. The Prime Minister pointed to the fact that the majorfinancial document of the country for 2003 "is being prepared according toa new pattern for the first time". At the early stage of its preparation,the document was coordinated with representatives of the State Duma and theFederation Council. During this coordination, common approaches to formingthe 2003 budget were worked out. As for the adoption of the budget by thelower house, Kasyanov pointed out that "no considerable changes are to bemade". According to him, it is important to provide the stability of keyparameters, stipulated in the budget, during its adoption by the StateDuma..

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