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G8 summit to establish Russia as a full partner - RUIE head

01.01.70

The forthcoming G8 summit will establish Russia as a full partner, said Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE). "The transition to partner relations with the G8 states, whereby Russia will be considered not as an energy supplier but will maintain various forms of higher-level relations with the other states, may be one of the summit's achievements," the RUIE head told the 24-hour TV channel Vesti. He said it was crucial for Russia to make the summit, which it will host, "the first most equal in all senses of the word." Shokhin said a number of steps have been taken toward this objective. The liberalization of currency regulations by lifting the remaining restrictions on capital movement from July 1 is "a move designed to show the G8 colleagues that Russia regards its national currency as fully convertible, if not yet a reserve currency," he said.

The idea of trading oil and petrochemicals on exchanges in rubles signifies a step towards transforming the convertible ruble into a reserve currency, the RUIE head said. The early repayment of Russia's debts to the Paris Club of Creditors also fits in with the logic of equal partnership within the G8. "This means that Russia wants to speak at the summit not as a debtor to its partners, but as an equal member," he said. "The only issue that remains in the air, and will remain in the air until the G8 summit, is Russia's ability to act as an equal partner of the G8 states at international trade negotiations," Shokhin said. "Much will depend on the Russo-American bilateral meeting [ahead of the summit]. If President [George] Bush gives the green light to Russia's accession to the WTO on July 14, Russia will practically become an equal G8 member on the issues of trade and international trade negotiations." Shokhin said that energy security, the main issue on the G8 summit agenda, could not be ensured without global political decisions. "Much depends on political factors: energy prices depend on the situation in the Middle East, Iran's nuclear fuel problem and ways to solve it, as well as OPEC's decisions. These factors are uncontrollable, or partly controllable and partly predictable," he said. "Therefore, if we want to ensure global energy security, we will have to draw up global political measures, in which Russia could also play its part." According to www.G8russia.Ru , the G8 states therefore need Russia not only as an energy supplier and transit country, but also as a political partner to ensure energy security, the RUIE head concluded.

Expert opinion

Halter Marek

02.12.06

Halter Marek
Le College de France
Olivier Giscard dEstaing

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Olivier Giscard dEstaing
COPAM, France
Mika Ohbayashi

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Mika Ohbayashi
Institute for Sustainable Energy Poliy
Bill Pace

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Bill Pace
World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
Peter I. Hajnal

01.12.06

Peter I. Hajnal
Toronto University, G8 Research Group