Russia's Paris Club Debts Could Be Restructured, US Vice-president Says

Sergei Stepashin in charge of the Russian Audit Chamber has talked to US Vice-President Richard Cheney for 30 minutes over a video-phone December 19, discussing a possibility of adjusting Russia's Paris Club debentures. Cheney took an interest in this proposal. This was disclosed to reporters in Washington Wednesday by Stepashin himself. According to Stepashin, the afore-said proposal implies that part of all moneys being spent by Russia on the elimination of its chemical and nuclear weapons could be entered to the account of its Paris Club debts. At the same time, this implies former Soviet debts, rather than Russian debts proper, Stepashin went on to say. In his words, this possibility was discussed solely as a proposal and an option. Cheney, who became interested in this idea, noted that he will be ready to once again talk to President George Bush Jr. and to create a related ad hoc group, Stepashin went on to say, adding that he had discussed this proposal together with House budgetary-committee chiefs and former presidential candidate Senator Joseph Lieberman, heading the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

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