The package of three agreements, signed in Prague, on financial cooperation between Russia and the Czech Republic will help reduce Russia's annual debt payments from $150 million to $60-70 million, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told Russian journalists Wednesday, commenting on his two-day visit to the Czech capital. The agreements provide for writing off 46 percent of the Russian debt and rescheduling the remaining part, as well as for rescheduling for 20 years overdue interest payments amounting to $400 million. The parties also reached agreement on a supplement to the Soviet-Czechoslovak agreement on the development of the Yamburg gas field in Western Siberia. Answering a RIA Novosti correspondent's question about the Yamburg gas field, Kasyanov emphasized that the matter at issue is the final completion of settlements for the Czech Republic's services in developing the field and in laying a gas pipeline from the Yamal Peninsula to Western Europe. The larger part of this debt has already been paid with Russian gas supplies, and Russia is yet to pay $3.5 million.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969