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Lavrov: one tenth of Cuba’s debt to Russia to be reinvested in Cuban economy

April 29, 2014, 21:22 UTC+3 HAVANA
Various companies are showing interest towards operations in Cuba and the energy sector leaders
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (R)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (R)

© EPA/Alejandro Ernesto

HAVANA, April 29. /ITAR-TASS/. One-tenth of Cuba’s debt to Russia will be reinvested in Cuban economy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday upon the completion of talks with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez.

“The part of the debt that isn’t written off - and that’s 10% of the total - will be reinvested in Cuban economy on agreement between the two sides,” he said. “We’re interested in the making these investments productive to the maximum.”

Various companies are showing interest towards operations in Cuba and the energy sector leaders like Zarubezhneft, Rosneft and Inter RAO are among them, Lavrov said.

He recalled an important arrangement that has already been fulfilled in the form of an agreement on writing off Cuba’s debt to our country.

“This agreement is in the final phase of ratification at present,” Lavrov said.

Talks on the restructuring a partial write-off the debt that Cuba accumulated back in the Soviet era continued for a long enough time. Reports said Moscow and Havana agreed at the end of 2013 to write off 90% of the accumulated debt running into over $ 30 billion.

Russia’s Deputy Minister of Finance Sergei Storchak told ITAR-TASS  that the verification of the indebtedness had been done by Russia’s Vnesheconombank in the process of drafting the agreement on the write-off. “Following the re-conversion of the rubles (of different years of issue) into the US dollars the total sum of the debt reached $ 35 billion and the pattern applied under the agreement meant that Cuba would owe $ 3.5 billion (to Moscow) after the write-off,” he said.

Storchak said the procedures of ratification of the agreement have not been completed yet. He said that the formal procedures had been rounded up but the document had not been submitted to the State Duma yet.

Storchak did not rule out that the Duma might discuss the agreement before the end of its spring session.

He said the formula adopted at the talks Tuesday meant that the remainder of the debt would be reinvested into joint Russian-Cuban project.

“In practical terms, this means the Russian budget won’t get the money from this settlement pattern but while we simply write off 90% of the debt, the $ 3.5 billion give us the hope to launch new joint projects,” Storchak said.

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