Vice-Premier Khristenko: Russia insists its oil interests in Iraq be reckoned with

Russia's involvement in the efforts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to maintain stable oil prices will in no small measure depend on whether its interests in Iraq are duly reckoned with, Russian Vice Premier Viktor Khristenko told the media on Friday.

"We will take heed of the OPEC insofar as we will manage to make our own voices heard on Iraq," Mr. Khristenko said in reply to a reporter's request that he comment on OPEC leaders' pronouncements about the impossibility, without Russia's help, of keeping up the world oil prices in the face of resuming petroleum exports from Iraq. "Here should be normal mutuality and adequacy," he stressed.

As Khristenko pointed out, all of Russia's plans and actions on the oil market are absolutely open and transparent. "We don't try to conceal anything, neither for this year, nor for the next," he assured.

"As for the general price situation on the oil market, Russia is, of course, interested in its stability and predictability," the Vice-Premier said. According to him, it is common knowledge that the price his country finds fair and suitable is around $25 per barrel.

Khristenko reminded his audience of the ongoing consultations between Russian and OPEC experts. "We keep them [the consultations] going, but they shouldn't be turned into a political dialogue," he remarked.

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