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#10 - JRL 7038
Russia doing everything to promote world stability--Illarionov.
January 28, 2003

Russia is doing everything to promote world trust and stability, Andrei Illarionov, the Russian president's adviser, told a press conference at the World Economic Forum on Monday. This is testified by Moscow's well-reasoned international policy, its desire to guarantee stability on the energy and fuel market and to ensure economic growth within the country.

Touching on the Iraq problem, the presidential adviser did not rule out the possibility of the world petroleum prices going up and, consequently, of a sharp deterioration of the global economic situation if the war proved to be long and if it were to spread out beyond the borders of Iraq. Russia wants the world to develop stably and is, therefore, increasing oil production. Oil extraction grew from six to eight million barrels a day in the course of the past three years and its export -- from three to more than five million barrels a day. This oil proved timely on the world market due to the problems in Venezuela and uncertainty in the Middle East. In expert opinion,

Russia is able to boost oil production to ten million barrels in the next few years and to export up to seven million barrels. Though Russia cannot replace the Middle East in this respect, nevertheless, "it is doing everything possible to make the situation more stable".

Russia's GDP was higher than the average world figure during the past four years - 6. 2 per cent compared to 3. 5 per cent. Thereby, Russia is not only improving the living standards of its people, but at the same time is contributing to the growth of the world economy. The influx of immigrants, which is regarded in Russia as a considerable source of internal dynamics, is continuing. From 100,000 to 200,000 people came to Russia from neighbouring countries over the past few years.

Russia is accurately paying for its external debt, which has decreased from 157 to 110 billion U. S. dollars since 1998. "If Russia were to pay its debts as it did in the past two years, the debt problem will be settled within the next 8-10 years, Illarionov is sure.

Russia is pursuing a balanced and reasonable policy on the international arena, too, the presidential adviser noted. He drew the press conference's attention to the prudent Russian stand on Iraq. "Together with other countries, Russia is doing everything possible to promote trust and partnership, thereby contributing to the formation of a more stable, more predictable and prosperous world," Illarionov stated. This is fully in keeping with the principal theme of the current meeting of the World Economic Forum: "To Build up Trust," he stressed.

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