Vice-premier: All Welfare Fees, Overdue Debts To Be Paid Off Next Year

In his interview with the Mayak radio station Tuesday, Vice-Premier and Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin was confident that no matter how 2002 forecast changes, the government will be able to collect the planned revenues for ensuring welfare payments and debt servicing. Irrespective of the market situation, the government will be in a position to provide wages and pensions in full volume and on time, said the vice-premier. Some jurisdictions will not do without the federal centre's subsidies which are certain to be granted, he added. Dealing with prospects for Russia's admission to the World Trade Organization, Kudrin reported that the issue is to be resolutely negotiated since January 2002 with talks to last for the whole year and with a final decision on joining this organization to be taken by Russia only if all the terms suit it. Kudrin accounted for the "warmer" relations between Russia and the World Trade Organization by this country's having become a more predictable partner. In his opinion, the policy pursued by the Russian president, government and parliament causes understanding and trust on the part of the West. It is profitable now for all not to bar Russia from the world market, concluded Kudrin.

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