July 18, 2000
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Mr. President:
In May, the Administration concluded negotiations on a debt rescheduling proposal for Russia and forwarded the package to Congress for consideration. Although Members voiced strong objections to your request, the Administration chose to proceed with the rescheduling of substantial debt, including that owed from the World War II era. We now understand that the Administration may be considering yet another request from President Putin to reschedule debt falling due.
It is our view that the principle and interest owed to the United States should be manageable within Russia's current available resources and budget. Instead of fulfilling these financial obligations, the Russian government has chosen to spend limited resources on the prosecution of a vicious and debilitating war against Chechnya and offered substantial financial support to Slobodan Milosevic's criminal regime.
Debt relief is not an entitlement or a political gift. The Russian government has made the choice to prop up Milosevic and wage war against the civilians in Chechnya, rather than repay U.S. debt. We do not believe the United States should subsidize or support this Russian decision. Therefore, please be advised we strongly oppose any further debt rescheduling, reduction, or relief for the government of Russia absent significant changes in Russian spending priorities.