Ukraine reached an agreement with a group of its creditors to restructure its debt and avoid a looming default. The investors will accept a 20% write-off on the estimated $18 billion in debt on the country’s bonds and accept a freeze on repayment for the next four years. The Ukrainian finance ministry has lauded the deal as favorable to Kiev and IMF chief Christine Lagarde has also endorsed the deal.
The timing of the deal is also being described as fortuitous as it coincides with growing sentiment that the Ukrainian economy is stabilizing. Both currency and inflation problems appear to have been mitigated at least for the short-medium term, and the country will maintain access to capital markets as a result of the debt deal.
The Ukrainian security situation, however, remains precarious, with continued reports of violence in the country’s east and recent calls for a new accord to replace the Minsk II accord signed in February. The Ukrainian president has already rejected the rumor that a new accord could be brokered, making the status of any new peace negotiations uncertain.
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- China announced that it has gifted 400 tractors to the Afghan government. At an event in Kabul commemorating the transfer, China’s ambassador to Afghanistan stated that the tractors are intended to boost agricultural production in the country, something he indicated would benefit both countries.
- NATO has opened a new training center in Georgia, Radio Free Europe reports. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stolenberg was in Tbilisi to open the base, which is expected to offer training to Georgian military and other security personnel in addition to NATO forces stationed in the country. The Georgian prime minister welcomed the opening of the base as a means of promoting “regional security, peace and stability.”
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Kazakh government announced that talks have progressed related to the installation of a low-enriched uranium base (LEU) in Kazakhstan, and that the parties have reached an initial agreement. The new LEU will be located in the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen in eastern Kazakhstan, where 800 tons of uranium are already stored.
- The Tajik government shuttered the offices of the Tajik Islamic Renaissance Party earlier this week. The move, described as unsurprising by The Diplomat, is not the first reported act against the party, which has been the target of government attacks over the past years. Members of the party remained adamant that the IRP would survive despite the obstacles placed before it.