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Russia: Debt Restructuring Pact Signed

Moscow, 6 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia today signed an agreement on repaying some $35 billion owed by the former Soviet Union to private banks in the London Club of commercial creditors.

Officials at Deutsche Bank, which has chaired the London Club's steering committee through six years of talks with Moscow, say the accord will take effect only after debt rescheduling is completed -- probably in early December.

Russian Finance Minister Anatoly Chubais said the accord does not represent the completion of Moscow's relations with the London Club. Rather, Chubais said, the deal marks the beginning of a new stage.

The agreement gives Russia 25 years to pay off the debts. It is expected to open the way for new foreign investment in Russia by improving the country's credit rating. Russia took on the London Club debts of all former Soviet Republics when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.