U.S. Vice-President Richard Cheney stated his readiness to instruct the respective U.S. departments to consider an issue on possible restructuring the Soviet-era debt to the USA, the Russian Audit Chamber reported. On Tuesday, December 18, chairman of the Russian Audit Chamber Sergei Stepashin, who is on an official visit to Washington, discussed with the U.S. vice-president an issue of possible restructuring the former USSR debt. Stepashin and Cheney talked in a tele-bridge format. In the course of the talk Sergei Stepashin informed the U.S. vice-president about the Audit Chamber work on checking the efficiency of use of funds for utilisation of chemical weapons subject to elimination in compliance with the Russian-U.S. agreements. In this connection an issue was raised on possible restructuring of the Soviet-era debt by offsetting the Russian side expenditures for the aforementioned purposes. The sides stated progress in development of the Russian-U.S. business ties. Stepashin noted that the Audit Chamber tries to contribute to their further expanding, specifically, by taking corresponding measures to increase transparency of financial- economic processes and improve investment climate in Russia. Richard Cheney in turn hailed the intention of the Russian Audit Chamber and U.S. Main Control Department to streamline cooperation in the interests of combating laundering illegally obtained money and cut off channels of financial feeding of international terrorism.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia