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PYONGYANG, June 1 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian-North Korean negotiations for the repayment of North Korean debts resulted in the signing of a joint protocol here on Friday. “Mutual financial liabilities of the countries related with those transactions, which were effectuated in the foreign trade in the times of the Soviet Union” were discussed at the bilateral negotiations, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, who headed the Russian delegation, told Itar-Tass on Friday.
The balance of mutual settlements was in favour of the Russian Federation, as the Soviet Union was one of the largest North Korean creditors, Storchak noted. So, the negotiations focused on the debts amassed in the Soviet times “that made us possible to negotiate in the bilateral format without waiting for multilateral consultations in the Paris Club of Creditors.” In this respect, Russia does not violate its commitments to this club, in which the country is a member, the deputy finance minister said. Japan, China and other countries also acted as creditors.
The negotiations continued many years, the positions of the countries were getting closer slowly, but finally the agreements were reached, Storchak noted. In particular, the remainder of the debt, which will be transferred to the Vnesheconombank account, which is opened at the North Korean Bank of Foreign Trade, is planned to use for the projects that will promote the development of education, health care systems and the energy industry. This is those spheres, which Russia considers as the country’s priorities in its contribution to international development, the deputy finance minister said.
Along with the protocol Russia and North Korea initialled an intergovernmental agreement on the results of bilateral negotiations in Pyongyang on Friday. The Russian deputy finance minister noted that this document should be approved by the Russian government and can be finalized while being considered. Therefore, the countries decided not to disclose any concrete information about its content, he added.