- Title: RUSSIA: RUSSIA TO REDUCE IRAQ DEBT AFTER MEETING WITH IRAQI INTERIM GOVERNMENT.
- Date: 23rd December 2003
- Summary: (EU) MOSCOW, RUSSIA (DECEMBER 22, 2003) (REUTERS -- ACCESS ALL) 1. GV: KREMLIN 0.05 2. GV/MV/PAN: RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN GREETS MEMBERS OF IRAQ INTERIM GOVERNMENT (3 SHOTS) 0.32 3. GV/PAN//CU/MV: RUSSIAN AND IRAQI DELEGATIONS SITTING DOWN AT TABLE; PRESS, IRAQI DELEGATION (3 SHOTS) 0.57 4. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Russian companies are prepared to work actively in Iraq." 1.01 5. MV.CU/GV: DELEGATIONS TALKING AT TABLE (4 SHOTS) 1.36 6. MV/CU: IRAQI INTERIM GOVERNMENT ENTERS PRESS HALL. MEDIA (2 SHOTS) 1.47 7. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) JALAL TALABANI, MEMBER IRAQI GOVERNING COUNCIL, SAYING: "This [the debt] remains at 3:5 billion dollars, and Russia will look at reducing this." 2.02 8. GV: MEMBERS OF INTERIM GOVERNMENT 2.09 9. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF IRAQ INTERIM GOVERNMENT ABDEL AZIZ AL-HAKIM, SAYING: "So we plan to have an end of the occupation of Iraq." 2.18 10. CU/GV: PRESS CONFERENCE (2 SHOTS) 2.28 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 7th January 2004 12:00
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Reuters ID: LVAA0PQ6NOBNXRM9BJ0NJPZGN2IE
- Story Text: Russia to reduce Iraq debt after President Putin
meets with Iraqi interim government.
Russia has offered to write off 65 percent of Iraq's
$8 billion debt to Moscow if the condition is approved by
the Paris Club of creditor nations.
The proposal was announced after a Kremlin meeting
between the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council and Russian
President Vladimir Putin.
Dealing head-on with the old debts, Russia positions
itself for future development of the oil-rich nation.
"Russian companies are prepared to work actively in
Iraq," Putin told the Iraqi delegation at the beginning of
Russia has $4 billion worth of deals to develop Iraq's
oil reserves, the world's second largest after Saudi
Arabia. The most notable is LUKOIL's $3.7-billion contract
for the huge West Qurna oilfield.
The deal was signed in 1997, but Saddam's government
scrapped it, saying LUKOIL had failed to start work and had
been seeking U.S. guarantees to keep the field should a new
government come to power.
The United States announced earlier this month that it
would only give Iraq reconstruction contracts to companies
from countries that participated in the war effort. Russia,
along with Germany and France, opposed the invasion of
Iraq, and Moscow has criticised the U.S. stance.
But members of the interim government have said they
oppose excluding any country that wants to help rebuild
The debt is a substantial barrier for building Iraq's
post-war economy. The International Monetary Fund
estimates that Iraqi debt is about $120 billion. Russia is
owed $8 billion by the former Iraq government. A sum of
about $40 billion is due to the 19 Western countries that
make up the Paris Club and much of the remaining sum is
owed to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and a group of Eastern
Debt reduction would also greatly free the Iraqi
government in running its daily affairs once it takes over
from U.S. occupation forces.
Hakim said that he hoped for a full transition from
U.S. to local power within the year to mark an end to
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