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#9 - JRL 7033
Illarionov says Russia may pay off foreign debt in 10 years

DAVOS, Jan 24 /Prime-TASS/ -- Russia could completely pay off its foreign
debt in 10 years if the government maintains the economic policies it has
undertaken over the last two years, Presidential Economic Adviser Andrei
Illarionov told ITAR-TASS Friday.

If the government continues the current economic policy, Russia may
resolve the problem of its foreign debt within 10 years, Illarionov said,
adding that then the opportunities for economic and political development,
and Russias position in world politics would be quite different.

"Russia has a potential to become a country with no foreign debt at all,"
he added.

As of late 1998, Russias foreign debt amounted to U.S. $157-$158 billion,
he noted.

According to the latest government data, Russias foreign debt has since
been reduced to $110 billion, Illarionov said. He did not specify which
foreign debt, total or sovereign, he was talking about..

Russia's total foreign debt amounted to $149.7 billion as of October 1
2002, posting a decline of 0.9% in January-September, according to data
released by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) on December 31.

The CBR said then that Russia's post-Soviet sovereign debt stood at $48.4
billion as of October 1.

The post-Soviet debt also includes regional governments $900 million debts
from loans and their $100 million debts in Eurobonds.

The debt inherited from the Soviet Union stood at $57.1 billion.

Soviet-era creditors include the Paris Club, which is owed $37.6 billion,
and former Warsaw Pact countries, who are owed $4.7 billion.

Russia's non-state banking system owed $13.6 billion in foreign debt as of
October 1, while Russian enterprises owed $29.6 billion.

Russia is expected to pay $17.3 billion on foreign debts in 2003, $14
billion in 2004 and $16.8 billion in 2005.
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