Russia, Serbia, Montenegro agree on clearing debts

Russia signed on Tuesday a framework clearing agreement with Serbia and Montenegro on mutual claims.

The document was signed after two-day negotiations in the Russian finance ministry which considered the settlement of Russia's clearing debt to Serbia and Montenegro and the debt of Oil Industry of Serbia (NIS) to Russia's Gazprom.

When talking to newsmen, Serbian Finance and Economy Minister Bozidar Djelic described the agreement as welcome news. He added that Moscow had estimated the Russian clearing debt to Serbia and Montenegro in US dollars. One clearing dollar equals 62.5 cents. Out of the total USSR debt to Yugoslavia amounting to 1.291 bln clearing dollars, the debt to Serbia and Montenegro makes 490 mln.

The framework agreement also solves the issue of the NIS $248 mln debt to Gazprom. This will allow Serbia to conclude a long-term agreement on Russian gas deliveries to Serbia. The remaining 20% of the debt will be settled through the deliveries of commodities and services to Russia.

According to Djelic, the agreement on mutual claims will also allow Serbia to finance the restoration of the Djerdap hydropower station. The implementation of this project will make it possible to extend Djerdap's service life up to 40 years and ensure Serbia's energy stability.

The framework agreement is waiting for the approval of the two countries' governments.

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