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07.04.04á19:14
MOSCOW'S BROKER FOR CASPIAN NEIGHBORS
NATIONAL RESERVE BANK BEGAN NEGOTIATIONS ON SETTLEMENT OF AZERBAIJAN'S DEBT TO TURKMENISTAN

The National Reserve Bank (NRB) of Russia began the first round of negotiations with the government of Azerbaijan on the settlement of this country's debt to Turkmenistan, president of the NRB Yuri Kudimov said.

The NRB was exclusively mandated to settle Turkmenistan's debt claims to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan totaling $500 mln in the end of this March. The mandate is valid until the end of 2004.

"We have already held negotiations with Turkmenistan, received documents regarding the debt of Azerbaijan, and today we will start negotiations with the first deputy prime-minister of Azerbaijan, Abbas Abbasov, in Baku. One of Azerbaijani banks can be chosen for conducting detailed negotiations at a later stage", Kudimov said.

In his opinion, the NRB wants to help sides to find acceptable solution to the debt problem dragging on from 1995.

According to the Turkmen side Azerbaijan's debt to Turkmenistan amounts to $56 mln while Azerbaijan acknowledges that it owes only $18,7 mln for Turkmrn gas supplied in 1993-94.

The sum of $18 mln is a gas debt of the government but there are also debts as regards Central Banks of the two states, debts of business structures of Azerbaijan. We offer the sides a financial instrument to solve the problem without charging penalty fees and interests", Kudimov said giving no further details.

According to Reuters Turkmenistan claims a debt worth $22,9 mln in interbank settlements and $8 mln more, as a minimum, as debts of business structures of Azerbaijan.

Kudimov considers it possible to cover part of Azerbaijan's debt to Turkmenistan in kind and restructure the remaining part, but excluded a "Moldovan version" of debt settlements through issuance of obligations.

"In fact, we are brokers in resolution of this problem but the Turkmen side remains a creditor. That is why we will have consultations with it as to what steps should be taken towards Azerbaijan", the NRB head reported.

REUTERS, 06.04.2004

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