Ivo Skoric on 2 Jul 2000 15:09:35 -0000


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<nettime> Re: U.S. Plan On Russia Debt Stirs Hill Anger


This is just a perfect example how human rights are held hostage 
to interests of global trade (one of those reasons why people 
around the world are more and more disgusted with organizations 
like WTO, IMF and likes of the Paris Club...). So, now under the 
threat of Russian default on its loans, higher tarrifs on their 
products and almost certain although yet unqualified retaliation, the 
U.S. Administration has to support Russian debt rescheduling - a 
move that not only runs contrary to the general US national 
interest, but also thwarts efforts to make Russia compliant with 
certain human rights ideals the US want the world to abide by. Of 
course the Russian government have no money to re-pay loans: 
they used that money to finance the war in Chechnya, to build new 
long-range missile system (Topol), to help with loans their pal 
Milosevic, to dole out money on their cronies, etc. And now they 
use the Paris Club to make others pay for their extravagant and 
sometimes criminal expenses. They say they refused to give 
another loan to Milosevic, recently. Yes, wait until the rescheduling 
is approved. Then they'll ask for the rescheduling again the next 
year - what was this, the fifth one or so? Why does not the US 
Administration give that $37 milions to Milosevic for diesel fuel 
directly, by-passing Russia? Why fueling further Russian 
kleptocracy of 'intermediaries'? Why do we have to suffer any 
further this unbearable hypocrisy of so-called sanctions against 
Milosevic's Yugoslavia, while the money is poured into there easily 
over Russia? That 'saving face' Clintonesque ceremony ultimately 
costs money the US taxpayer - since the cost of diesel fuel that 
Serbs need will be augmented with fees charged by Russian 
'businissmen' for the transaction, and higher loan costs. Therefore, 
although I am rarely able to say that I side with Helms on anything, 
I think he is dead right on opposing this rescheduling proposal.

ivo

Date sent:     Sun, 2 Jul 2000 07:30:27 -0400
Send reply to: International Justice Watch Discussion List
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From:          steve albert <albert@TOTAL.NET>
Subject:       U.S. Plan On Russia Debt Stirs Hill Anger
To:            JUSTWATCH-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU

How's this for an exercise in faullty logic:

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sent the news by letter Thursday night
to the committee chairmen, who had argued that the rescheduling would help
finance Russia's war in Chechnya and its aid to Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic. In addition, the full Senate has passed a measure critical of
debt rescheduling.

"Refusal to reschedule would not stop Russia from taking actions that it
deems to be in its interests," Albright said in a letter to House
International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman (R-N.Y.). She
sent a similar letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse
Helms (R-N.C.)

Of course refusal to reschedule the loans to Russia won't, in and of itself,
keep Putin  from financing Milosevic and killing Chechens.However Albright's
letter does not answer Helms and Gilman's concerns about US money being used
for purposes that run country both to US foreign policy objectives and
commen decency:

"But Helms and Gilman contend that it merely frees up money for dark
purposes. "In no way should the United States underwrite the Kremlin's war
against the peoples of Chechnya or its support of the Milosevic regime,"
Helms said in a June 14 letter to Albright, citing a $150 million Russian
loan to the Yugoslav government.

He said that before he would back the rescheduling, Russia would at the
least have to declare a cease-fire in Chechnya, begin peace negotiations
with its elected leader and end assistance to Milosevic."

I makes no sense to free up money that  Putin will use to slaughter Chechens
or help his ally Milosevic and then claim that no harm will be done because
he would have killed the Chechens and helped his pal Milosevic anyway.

Steve


Washington Post

U.S. Plan On Russia Debt Stirs Hill Anger
By John Burgess
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 1, 2000; Page E01


Turning aside firm opposition from congressional leaders, the Clinton
administration said yesterday that it will proceed with plans to let Russia
postpone payment on $485 million in debt owed to the U.S. government. In
retaliation, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said it will put all
ambassadorial nominations on hold.


Russia had been due to pay $155 million to the United States yesterday for
old debts left from the World War II Lend Lease program; it will now be
allowed to put off that payment and others due this year and next year.

Senate committee spokesman Mark Thiessen called it "unprecedented and
unacceptable" for the administration to defy the chairman in this way. He
added, "That's not done without consequences."

Albright has publicly courted Helms, flying to his home state to consult
with him and holding hands with him in a photograph. However, serious
tensions have continued in the relationship and now are flaring again.

Russia is still suffering the effects of a financial panic that broke out in
1998. "It's either alternate repayment schedules or default," State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "It's not money that they have."
Rescheduling will help assure the debt will be paid back later, he said,
rather than the money being lost forever.

But Helms and Gilman contend that it merely frees up money for dark
purposes. "In no way should the United States underwrite the Kremlin's war
against the peoples of Chechnya or its support of the Milosevic regime,"
Helms said in a June 14 letter to Albright, citing a $150 million Russian
loan to the Yugoslav government.

He said that before he would back the rescheduling, Russia would at the
least have to declare a cease-fire in Chechnya, begin peace negotiations
with its elected leader and end assistance to Milosevic.

Gilman also is "very upset" by Albright's move, House committee spokesman
Lester Munson said, and is "going to seek a legislative remedy for this
problem." He also said Gilman would hold up elements of the Russia aid
program.

Critics contend that by rescheduling the debt payments, the United States
will merely encourage economic irresponsibility in Russia and will miss a
chance to bring the government there to heel.

Boucher said the United States is pressing by other means for peace in
Chechnya and an end to aid to Milosevic. He said Russia had turned down a
recent request from Serbia for $32 million for diesel fuel.

He faulted the Senate committee's decision to hold up ambassadorial
nominations, of which at least 13 are pending. "We send up qualified
applicants" for confirmation, Boucher said. "We need to have these people in
posts and we don't think their fate should be linked to unrelated issues."

The U.S. debt postponement is part of a larger rescheduling agreed to last
year by the Paris Club, a forum in which creditor governments sit down with
governments that are having trouble paying what they owe. It was the fifth
rescheduling for the Russian Federation, which inherited the Soviet Union's
foreign debt.

A U.S. refusal to reschedule its share of Russia's debt would create
tensions within the Paris Club, U.S. officials have said. Moreover, under
U.S. law, if Russia falls behind on Lend Lease payments without U.S.
permission, Russian goods entering the United States would be hit by higher
duties. U.S. officials are eager to avoid that disruption to the Russian
economy, as well as possible retaliation by Russia.

 2000 The Washington Post Company

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