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Russia to Forgive Most of Laos' Debt - 2003-06-24

Russia has decided to forgive 70 percent of Laos' debt and provide favorable repayment conditions for its remaining balance.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov made the announcement Tuesday after a meeting with his Lao counterpart, Bounyang Vorachith, in Moscow. Under the agreement, Laos will be required to pay the remaining $378 million balance over the next 33 years.

Mr. Kasyanov said Russia offered the preferential repayment conditions because the United Nations classifies Laos among the least developed countries in the world. The debt-forgiveness plan will help Laos create social programs to improve the population's standard of living.

The Russian prime minister also said Russia is prepared to take part in modernizing facilities in Laos and exploring ways to help improve Laos' armed forces.