Russian power resources to speed up global economic progress: Putin to G-8

Russia is the world's largest oil and gas exporter, and steady and foreseeable energy politics are its main tool to promote global economic progress, President Vladimir Putin said to other G-8 summiteers at an economic dispute.

Western-based companies are ever more active with capital investment in Russia's fuel-and-power complex - suffice it to mention the US$6.5 billion the British Petroleum recently invested in Russian petroleum industry. President Putin and Tony Blair, Great Britain's Prime Minister, have discussed the deal, and Mr. Putin approves it.

He greets prospects for ever closer ties between Russian and US petroleum companies. "We can together guarantee steady progress of the global economy and power industry," he said.

The President mentioned Russia's prospects to join the World Trade Organisation. "As we see it, Russia has every opportunity to join the organisation on its usual terms unless the European Commission demands ungrounded advantages. We shall not put up with that, and we shall work for a negotiation platform of our own," he stressed.

Russia was the G-8's quickest with economic progress within the last two years - an annual average 6.8% for 2000-02 and an approximate 5% for 2001-03. Inflation is steadily dropping pace.

The country makes it a point to keep the actual rouble rate in check, and maintain a budget surplus, said President Putin as he highlighted federal government efforts to establish and keep up a sizeable stabilisation fund. Russia is smoothly paying its debts even without more foreign loans, he pointed out. This year's foreign debt payments amount to US$17.3 billion even for today.

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