Source Pravda.Ru

Russia won't finance Greater Middle East fund, Putin says

Russia will not finance a fund being established in line with the Greater Middle East initiative, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation told reporters at a press conference, after the G-8 summit wound up.

Russia won't contribute to this fund being stipulated by the G-8's Greater Middle East initiative, unless it understands that we can really participate in the decision-making process, Putin added.

Talking to correspondents June 10, Vladimir Putin's economic adviser Andrei Illarionov noted that the Russian Federation will so far refrain from financing the Greater Middle East's economic-development fund.

The Russian position remains unchanged: The Mideastern region is not poor; regional per-capita incomes and absolute financial resources can be compared to those of many other regions of the world, Illarionov added.

We are stating our honest position well in advance; one should not expect the Russian Federation to provide such money in the near future, Vladimir Putin's economic adviser went on to say.

At the same time, G-8 leaders agreed to extend a program for easing the debts of the world's poorest countries for another two years.

G-8 leaders will instruct their respective finance ministers to finalize the relevant agreement's details in the near future.

This World Bank program was to have expired in late 2004; $31 billion worth of 23 African countries' debts have already been written off and restructured within its framework.