The visit to Moscow by OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez Araque, which is to begin Thursday, will give a fresh impetus to the development of relations between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. Such is the opinion of spokesman for the OPEC general secretariat in Vienna. The head of the world oil cartel is to have meetings with officials from the Russian Power Engineering Ministry, including Deputy Minister Aleksei Miller who headed the Russian delegation to the 114th OPEC conference in Vienna last March. Ali Rodriguez is also to have a meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Ivanov and representatives of Russian business circles, in particular, oil and gas entrepreneurs. At the Russian Power Engineering Ministry the sides are to discuss cooperation in the oil sphere, including the possibility of a joint monitoring of the situation in oil markets and information cooperation in this sphere. The possibility of including Russian URALS oil into OPEC's oil basket may also be discussed. The sides are unlikely to once again discuss the question of Russia's membership in OPEC, because the Russian side has no intention to join the cartel now. Ali Rodriguez has more than once expressed the desire to see Russia, which is one of the world's largest oil producers, as a member of OPEC. But the cartel is quite pleased by Russia's present status of observer because Moscow is conducting a policy coordinated with this organization as far as the strategy of oil production and price formation are concerned. The OPEC Secretary-General has repeatedly stressed that he is pleased by a policy of coordination and assistance that Russia gives to the world oil cartel. This three-day visit will be the second visit by the OPEC leader to Russia in the past six months. Last year Rodriguez came as OPEC's President. Now he is coming as its Secretary-General, the highest administrative post in the cartel. Ali Rodriguez will not only discuss the possibility of intensifying bilateral ties. He will also meet personally with the Russian Prime Minister. This means that Russia-OPEC relations are elevating to a higher level, according to OPEC officials. Ali Rodriguez Araque was born in 1937. He has an education in law and economics and a doctor's degree in the latter. He has published a number of works, the latest of which has analyzed the process of privatization in the oil industry of Venezuela. Before taking the post of OPEC Secretary-General he was the Oil and Mines Minister of Venezuela and OPEC President emeritus.
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