Serbia, Russia reach debt clearance agreement

Serbia’s and Russia’s finance ministries reached a debt clearance agreement today, settling all mutual claims between the two countries, said Serbian Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic, and added that he will sign a memorandum with Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin in Moscow tomorrow.

Dinkic told the Tanjug news agency that out of $288.8 million that Russia owes to Serbia, $188 million will be used to cancel the debt of Serbia’s state-run oil and gas company NIS to Russia’s Gazprom for natural gas deliveries between 1994 and 2000.

The remaining USD 100 million of Russian debt will be used to modernise Serbia’s Djerdap hydroelectric power plant and build an accelerator station for diagnostic isotopes in the Vinca institute, said Dinkic.

As for the remaining $55 million of NIS’s debt to Gazprom, Dinkic said that he agreed with Gazprom General Manager Alexei Miller to reschedule the debt for eight years and then invest into a joint venture with NIS in Serbia. The money will also be used to help develop Serbia’s oil pipeline network.

“In this way, we are entering a new stage in economic relations between Russia and Serbia, since we have settled all mutual claims,” Dinkic said.

Dinkic also said that the agreement should be ratified in the two countries’ parliaments by September this year.