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Russia Agrees to Deal Waiving Iraqi Debt

Russia has agreed to a deal with the 19-nation Paris club of creditors to write off billions of dollars in Iraqi debt owed member nations.

The agreement, reached Sunday in Paris, dramatically reduces Iraqi debt to industrialized nations, waiving about $33 billion.

Earlier today, announcement of the deal was reported delayed while Russian envoys sought final approval from Moscow.

The United States had sought the debt relief as part of a strategy aimed at increasing the chances of survival for the post war Iraqi government.

In other developments, the Iraqi government says its first democratic national elections in decades will take place January 30.

An Iraqi elections spokesman, Farid Ayar, says ballots for a new national assembly, provincial councils and a Kurdish regional parliament will be cast nationwide, including areas now gripped by insurgency. He did not say why the polls were moved from the earlier date of January 27.

There were no U.S. reports of major combat operations today.

Some infromation for this report provided by AP and Reuters.