Russia Not To Raise Question Of Debt Restructuring

Russia is not going to raise the question of restructuring of its foreign debts at the spring session of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB). This statement was made by Aleksei Kudrin, Russia's minister of finance and first deputy prime minister, during this meeting with journalists. He is head of the Russian delegation, which arrived at the US capital about three hours ago. "We will not emphasise this topic," remarked Mr. Kudrin. According to his words, neither will this topic be raised at the session of the finance ministers and heads of Central Banks of the Group of Seven with participation of Russian representatives, which is due in Washington on Saturday. He explained that Russia would first have to assess realistically its economic prospects for the years 2002-2003 in cooperation with the IMF. This work, said Mr. Kudrin, is expected to begin this summer. This assessment, he remarked, will provide the basis for the stance of international financial institution on this issue. Mr. Kudrin also noted that Russia is participating in the current spring session of the IMF and WB in a new capacity. He said that Russia no longer takes credits, but redeems its earlier loans to foreign creditors, therefore the role of Russia in the discussion of international relations that will take place at the session will be more prominent. "Today we are no longer alone seeking country, and this is the main point," stressed the deputy prime minister. Mr. Kudrin said that Russia is going to continue cooperation with international financial institutions because saying that all conditions for sustainable economic development of Russia are in place would be premature. That said, Russia still has an opportunity to obtain new loans, just as other members of the IMF do. The head of the Russian delegation reminded that the session will discuss developments in the world economy, suggested improvements in the world financial architecture, and the role of international financial institutions. Today, he said, the latter is the topical question after the crises of the past years and changes in the stance of the leading economic powers on this problem. Russia is interested in the progressive development of the world economy because the current slow-down in the USA and Europe can also hit the Russian economy, stressed Mr. Kudrin. He also informed that the Russian delegation will be "actively involved" in the discussion of instruments that could help in stabilization of the economic situation in the world. The role of Russia, said Mr. Kudrin, may be significant not only within the region of the former USSR, where Russia retains its leading positions, and many countries of the CIS appeal for economic aid and debt restructuring. In addition to this role, Russia will also contribute to the stabilization of the world economy as one of major suppliers of oil to the world market, emphasized the deputy prime minister.

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