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    Russia's foreign debt down 31.3% in Q3 - finance ministry

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    Russia's foreign debt declined 31.3% in July-September 2006, reaching $50.1 bln as of October 1, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign debt declined 31.3% in July-September 2006, reaching $50.1 bln as of October 1, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

    Russia repaid the bulk of its outstanding debt to the Paris Club of Creditor Nations on August 18-21. This debt totaled $1.9 bln as of October 1, compared to $23.7 bln on July 1.

    Alexander Zhukov, a deputy prime minister, said on October 24: "During the next three years, foreign debt will gradually be reduced to $40 billion, which is a very good indicator, compared with other countries."

    Russia's debt to international financial organizations was reduced from $5.5 bln to $5.4 bln in July-September, and its Eurobond debt declined $0.3 bln to $30.9 bln.

    Debt to former Eastern-bloc countries ($2 bln), trade debt ($1.1 bln), and sovereign bond debt ($5.7 bln) remained unchanged in the period.

    Russia is paying off its foreign debt mainly from the Stabilization Fund, which was set up to accrue windfall profits from high world oil prices.

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