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Russia dangles euro zone aid offer at EU

18 December 2011 No Comment

Russia has dangled a $US20 billion ($20.24 billion) offer of IMF-run aid for the euro zone, as President Dmitry Medvedev enters his last summit with EU leaders split on energy, Syria and Iran.

Russia said it is willing to pump up cash into an emergency euro zone rescue, as the two sides cheweed over European demands for clean elections to replace Medvedev in March.

As Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said back in Russia he was “pleased” by Russia’s outburst of protests, Medvedev adviser Arkady Dvorkovich said Moscow was ready to contribute as soon as the IMF calls in its help.

He said after talks that began overnight that $10 billion due to be returned from the IMF next year could remain with the IMF “today” for special euro zone aid as soon as the Fund calls.

“Ten billion dollars is the minimum commitment,” Dvorkovich said. “We are ready to contribute our portion of financial assistance… when the IMF tell us it’s time.”

EU states have pledged to boost IMF crisis defences with loans of 200 billion euros. At a summit on Friday, EU leaders set a deadline for pledges or ideas of Monday 19 December.

Dvorkovich said Moscow would “consider” giving another 10 billion dollars, depending on “the size of the gap” in European efforts to raise overall rescue funding to a targeted one trillion euros.

“If the gap is half a trillion and we don’t know where other 490 billion are coming from, that would not be much point,” he said.

“What we need to do is make markets believe,” he said, adding that Brazil, China, India and South Africa, the other so-called BRICS emerging giants, “will not object” to the IMF channelling money to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

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