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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yasin Eyes OECD Membership

PARIS -- Russia wants to join the OECD, the rich nations' economic think tank, and would be ready to do so next year if the exclusive club would have it, Economics Minister Yevgeny Yasin said.

But he told reporters that Russia, which won observer status at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development last year, was not yet ready for full membership.

He also noted the 25 existing members might have other ideas on letting Russia in.

Yasin also said Russia could discuss a sweeping restructuring of its foreign debt toward the end of this year.

President Boris Yeltsin would ask leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations at their summit in Halifax, Canada, next month to support Moscow's case for both OECD entry and for it to join the Paris Club of creditor nations.

"Our intention is to work to arrive at membership of this organization," Yasin said Wednesday after meeting OECD officials on the second and final day of the body's annual meeting in Paris.

Asked when Russia might be ready to join the OECD, he replied: "Maybe in a year. But it does not only depend on us."

"President Yeltsin will speak in Halifax about Russia's intention to join the OECD and will ask the G-7 leaders to agree to this decision," he said, adding that Russia would have to comply with OECD rules and wait for its economy to mature.

Among other things, states have to prove their economies are open and business is free. Yasin said Moscow was determined to continue the passage from communism to the free market.

Russia was particularly keen to join the OECD to benefit from the economic advice the organization provides, Yasin said.

The Paris Club of government creditors, which has rescheduled payments on Moscow's massive debts in the last three years, was ready to agree to a similar deal limited to 1995 payments when officials meet in Paris next week, Yasin said after meeting the head of the Paris Club.

Russia is still pressing for a more comprehensive deal that would take payments falling due for a number of years and delay -- reschedule -- them over a long period.

Creditor sources say Russia owes some 52 percent of its $130 billion in foreign debts to Club governments.