Bernanke, Lew say debt impasse to end by Oct. 17 -Russia fin min


By Lidia Kelly

WASHINGTON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary JackLew and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told officials ofother G20 economies on Thursday that the standoff over the U.S.debt ceiling will be resolved before an Oct. 17 deadline,Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said.

The U.S. Treasury has said it could quickly run out of cashif the cap on U.S. borrowing authority is not raised by Oct. 17.

"Colleagues from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reservehave said that they hope to solve the issue soon. They said thatthe problem will be solved by the 17th," Siluanov told reportersafter a G20 dinner on the sidelines of the InternationalMonetary Fund and World Bank autumn meeting.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican congressionalleaders have been locked in battle that has already shutteredmuch of the U.S. government, and that risked throwing the nationinto default.

Republicans have planned to use the need to raise thenation's $16.7 trillion debt limit to force changes in Obama'ssignature health care law or to extract spending cuts from theWhite House.

Siluanov said worries about what the impasse could mean forthe world economy were shared by the G20, and that the group'scommunique to be issued on Friday will refer to the topic.

"There will be a general wish for a fast solution of theproblem. There will be a couple of propositions - that we are ofcourse, concerned and that we wish for a speedy resolution ofthe situation," Siluanov said.

"It's an important issue for everyone. Both Lew and Bernankebelieve that these difficulties can be overcome soon."

There were signs of a breakthrough in the debt standoff onThursday as Republicans presented a plan to extend the nation'sborrowing authority for several weeks, which would give bothsides more time to reach a longer-term agreement.

"The emerging trends of growth in America are the engine forother countries," Siluanov said. "So if the uncertaintycontinues, the growth rate will slow down. This does not benefitanyone."


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