Russian parliament ratifies write-off of most of Syria's debt

Russia's parliament on Friday ratified an agreement to write off nearly three-quarters of Syria's roughly $14 billion debt from the Soviet era. The State Duma, the lower house, registered its approval of the 2005 deal and a 2007 supplement in a 401-40 vote. According to the law passed by the Duma, Russia is writing off 73 percent of the debt. Part of the remaining $3.6 billion will paid in a single sum and part over a decade. Russia has written off large portions of Soviet-era debts owed by several Middle Eastern nations - much of it for military equipment - as it has moved to bolster relations in recent years.