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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia May Enter Talks With Paris Club

Russia may enter official negotiations with the Paris Club of creditor nations within two or three months, Russia's deputy finance minister said in an interview published Thursday.

In the meantime, Russia would like a nod of approval from the club for a rescheduling plan before related debt talks are concluded with the International Monetary Fund, Aleksey Ulyukayev said in an interview with Interfax.

The comment were the latest from Russian officials suggesting Russia would like to deal more directly with the governments of creditor nations in the Paris Club such as Germany, rather than negotiate through the IMF.

"We aren't looking for an official announcement from the club," he said, according to Interfax. He said the creditors could relay their position to Russia in an informal manner, perhaps orally.

Russia wants the club to write off some of the $48 million in Soviet-era debt or delay payments. But the Paris Club charter says it will not discuss deferment unless Russia first reaches agreement with the IMF.

Creditor nations appear more reluctant to forgive Russia because the country's economy improved in 2000 as a result of high oil prices.

Talks with the IMF stalled last year, and a new round is scheduled in February. Russian officials have threatened to default on Paris Club debt in recent statements.

Russia has already defaulted on the debt twice, once in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, and again in 1998 during a financial crisis. In all, the Russian government owes about $150 billion to foreign creditors including Western commercial banks and the IMF.