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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paris Club Debt Plan In Jeopardy

LONDON -- A deal between banks and Russia on the legal technicalities holding up a 1993 debt rescheduling agreement is beginning to look like just the first of many hurdles left ahead of a final accord, analysts said Thursday.

The deal was hailed by both sides as a major breakthrough, clearing legal disagreements which had held up implementation, but it now seems clear that the basic terms of Russia's debt rescheduling are again up for grabs.

The final outcome will depend largely on what the Paris Club of government creditors agrees with Russia later this year.

"The final deal will be based on what the Paris Club agrees with Russia," said Dirk Damrau, emerging markets economist at Salomon Brothers. He added that the official creditors are likely to include a clause which will call on Russia to negotiate a similar deal from the banks.

This "burden sharing" clause would be similar to one that caused some controversy in negotiations between Poland and its bank creditors.

The main difference with Russia is that it will not ask for, or be offered, outright debt forgiveness but the terms granted by the Paris Club could still cause some bankers pain.

There have been rumors in recent weeks that Russia will ask the Paris Club for more generous terms than it received in the past. On Thursday, Russia's chief debt negotiator, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Shokhin, said he wanted a long-term agreement.

"We want our relations with the Paris Club to be on a long-term basis which will ensure the predictability of the financial situation over the next three or four years," Shokhin told a news conference in Moscow.

One analyst, who requested anonymity, said a senior Russian official had said recently that Russia wanted the rescheduling of 1995 payments to be over 24 years -- much longer than the terms granted by the Paris Club thus far.

Shokhin's request is likely to find little sympathy in official Western circles. A senior Paris Club source said last month that Russia's reschedulings would continue to be governed by its agreements with the International Monetary Fund and bankers are known not to favor long-term deals as they are worried over Russia's political instability.

Salomon's Damrau said no rescheduling would be possible until the IMF has reached agreement with Russia on a standby loan which is expected to be of around $4 billion.

Russia owes Western creditors around $90 billion, of which some $25 billion are owed to commercial banks.