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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 16:53 GMT
Russia 'to pay Paris Club early'
President Vladimir Putin and James Wolfensohn of the World Bank.
Rising oil prices are helping Russia repay its debt early
Russia is considering an early repayment of its debt to the Paris Club group of rich lending nations.

President Vladimir Putin told World Bank president James Wolfensohn in Moscow that Russia planned to repay its debts early.

Russia owes $44bn (23bn) to the Paris Club and rising oil revenues mean it will be able to repay the money early.

Just this week, Russia paid off the last $3.33bn installment of a $22bn International Monetary Fund debt.

It was due to complete repayment of this debt in 2008.

"Now we are conducting negotiations on the possibility of making a similar agreement with the Paris Club. Of course, such a decision will only be made if it is economically feasible for us," Mr Putin said.

Oil price boost

During the 1990's, Russia depended on the financial assistance of the IMF and other multilateral organisations such as the World Bank.

But now the country's economy has benefited from high oil prices.

"The World Bank has made a significant contribution to the development of market relations in Russia," said Mr Putin.

"Now we no longer need such massive external financial support as before," he added.

The Russian president also asked Mr Wolfensohn for the support of the World Bank in its negotiations with the Paris Club.

The World Bank president has congratulated Mr Putin for Russia's economic progress and said that his institution will continue to support the country.

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31 Jan 05 |  Business

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