NGO representatives rate dialogue with Putin positively
MOSCOW, 4 July, RIA Novosti. Representatives of non-governmental organisations reacted positively to their dialogue with the Russian president, which took place on Tuesday as part of the Civil G8 2006 International NGO Forum in Moscow.
“It seems to me that today several chances emerged for us to get the G8’s mechanisms moving in the right direction”, Alexandr Auzan, president of the Institute for the National ‘Public Agreement’ Project told journalists.
“For me it is important that the conversation was practical in nature, and that it is clear to us what can be done as the next step: what kind of documents, projects and monitoring systems”, he added.
Auzan believes that on several issues the positions of the NGO representatives matched those of Mr. Putin (necessity of cutting strategic nuclear weapons and preserving marine resources), while on several others disagreements remain (environmental safety of nuclear energy and the issue of foreign financing of Russian NGOs).
With satisfaction, Auzan also noted the president’s readiness to make amendments to the law on non-governmental organisations and his position on mandatory provision of information on genetically modified content in food products.
RAN academic Alexei Yablokov also spoke about Putin’s attitude toward genetically modified organisms.
“When the concept of national security was approved he signed it, and this contained some very strict positions on genetically modified food. And he repeated them at our meeting, about which I am very glad”, the academic told journalists.
Yablokov believes that this is very important given the pressure currently being exerted on Russia by GM producer states.
“We must unite together with Europe against GM foods”, the academic believes.
According to Yablokov, Putin’s statements “give us some kind of chance”, as well as representing support for the Moscow government’s intention to pass a law on mandatory notification of GM content on GM foods’ packaging.
“These are all right, normal and environmentally correct steps”, said Yablokov.
Igor Chestin, director of the Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund, also expressed hope that today’s dialogue would open up “a more environmental era for our country”.
“What we have just seen is real concern for environmental problems. We hope that this year will be a turning point in this regard”, he said.
Galina Bogolyubova, president of the Slavonic Fund for Russia and a member of the Public Chamber, was also happy with the dialogue with the president.
“In our sections, we developed proposals for the G8 and tried to put them in an international context. And it must be said that the president did advise us on what it would be possible to do in our (NGOs’) presence and what would not be possible. He gave answers to all questions raised”, she said.