German Chancellor holds news conference on results of G8 summit
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is optimistic about Russia's chances of accession to the World Trade Organization.
"All parties are very optimistic, and only have to work out a few details," she said when commenting on the progress of Russo-American WTO accession talks. "Both parties have said optimistically that this will happen soon."
Before that, Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref said bilateral talks would be concluded by October and multilateral talks would end by March 2007.
"We have agreed to sign a protocol on the completion of bilateral talks by late October and of multilateral talks by March [of next year]," the minister said, adding that the timeframes were stipulated in the instructions of the Russian and American presidents.
Merkel also said she would not teach Putin democracy, but would discuss with him the situation of NGOs in Russia. "I think that every democracy in Europe has its own face," she said. "I did not discuss this issue with Vladimir Putin. I am not discussing with him, or telling him, how to develop democracy in Russia."
The chancellor supported the idea of deploying international forces to Lebanon, but said the type of international presence there should be determined by the UN Security Council.
"The situation in southern Lebanon should be stabilized," she said. "We would like to help the Lebanese government, whose situation is extremely difficult now."
"On the whole, I think that the Lebanese government can be given support, but forms of international intervention can only be discussed in the UN Security Council," Merkel said in reply to a question about her attitude to the UN Secretary General's proposal to deploy international forces to Lebanon.
Poverty will be a key issue on the agenda of the next G8 summit, to be held in Heiligendamm, Germany.
"President Vladimir Putin said that in late 2006 Russia would hand over the G8 presidency to Germany," she said. "The summit will be held in Germany from June 6 to 8."
Merkel said the agenda of the G8 summit in 2007 had not been determined, but "the struggle against poverty will be a priority."
She said the topics of the next summit would depend on the progress of WTO accession talks, the resolution of major global conflicts, and "Iran's attitude to the offer made by the six states" (the five UN Security Council members plus Germany).
The German chancellor said the agenda would be drawn up at meetings between G8 experts.