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Russia sees connection between changes in IMF lending policy and Ukraine’s debt — minister

October 30, 2015, 11:24 UTC+3
The IMF is going to abandon the long-standing practice not to lend the countries that have arrears to official creditors
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© EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. Russia’s Finance Ministry sees a connection between changes in IMF lending policy and Ukraine’s debt, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday.

"The IMF is going to abandon the long-standing practice not to lend the countries that have arrears to official creditors. Their hastiness shows that the time for discussion of changes to the rules of the Fund, which coincided with the second review of the Ukrainian IMF programs, was not chosen by chance," the Russian minister said.

Siluanov reiterated that Ukraine’s debt to Russia is an official one and is not subject to restructuring and writing-off as part of Kiev’s program of private creditors.

"The requirements of the Russian Federation to Ukraine are the official credit and in accordance with the long-term practice of the IMF should have a privileged status in comparison with the requirements of private creditors. Except for Russia’s requirement, no other requirement of official creditors was included in the program of restructuring the debt of Ukraine," he said.

Ukraine did not conduct constructive talks with Russia on debt settlement

The minister also noted that Ukraine did not conduct constructive talks with Russia on the settlement of its debt of $3 bln, giving up any alternatives other than recognizing the debt to the Russian Federation as private, when in fact it is official.

"The new policy of the IMF suggests that the Fund will lend money to a country with arrears to its official creditors, only if the country has sincerely tried, but could not agree with its official creditors. However, Ukraine did not have such negotiations with Russia. Moreover, Ukraine refused to consider any alternative but to equal the debt to Russia to the debts to private creditors," he said.

The IMF is currently revising the rules of lending to countries with sovereign debt. Yesterday it was confirmed by the IMF's spokesman Jerry Rice. According to him, the IMF Executive Board will consider the issue "in the near future."

Siluanov also noted that "Russia does not want Ukraine to be left without financial support in a difficult situation." "However, we are concerned that the IMF policy changes is forced in the context of a much politicized issue of restructuring Ukrainian debt," the Minister said.

Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko held only one meeting on the debt, which was held in mid-October in Lima, Peru, in the framework of the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank. Then the sides reaffirmed their positions, but they were not able to agree on debt restructuring.

The Russian Finance Ministry intended to appeal to international court in the case of non-payment of the debt by Kiev in December 2015.

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