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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Optimism Over Quick Debt Deal

The government expects to reach a deal soon on accelerated repayment of debts it owes to the Paris Club of sovereign creditors, its chief debt negotiator said late on Wednesday.

"Some members of the club show a certain demand for money, and this supports our optimism on the possibility of reaching an agreement quite quickly," news agencies quoted Sergei Storchak as saying on television.

Russia, flush with windfall oil revenues piling up in a budget stabilization fund, wants to pay back early debts it inherited from the Soviet Union to the Paris Club which totaled $43.1 billion as of Jan. 1.

The lender group is meeting this week in Paris, with media quoting sources saying a $15 billion buyback is on the table -- underscoring the transformation in the country's public finances since the $40 billion domestic debt default of 1998.

Storchak declined to say exactly when an overall deal could be struck, noting that Russia would have to agree terms with each of the other 18 members of the Paris Club.

"We don't want to repay our debts early at any price," Interfax quoted him as saying. "How much we can realistically pay is a matter of complex negotiations, but we must push them forward."

Talks had snagged on whether Moscow could secure a "haircut," or discount, for early redemption of debts which, according to Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, bear onerous servicing costs of between 7 and 13 percent per year.

Kudrin made a brief visit to Paris last week, suggesting movement towards a deal which would help key creditors like Germany comply with tough borrowing targets applying to euro zone states.