#9 - JRL 7038
MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GERMAN GREF HAPPY WITH OUTCOME OF HIS DAVOS MEETINGS
DAVOS /Switzerland/, January 28, 2003. /from a RIA Novosti correspondent/--Head of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade German Gref is happy with the outcome of his meetings within the framework of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Minister noted that the meetings were "exceptionally positive." On Monday, his last working day in Davos, Gref told journalists that in the course of his discussions on energy sphere investment the minister was able to achieve understanding with foreign businessmen on certain points. Progress has been reached in some seemingly impossible issues, the minister said.
According to Gref, in the course of the talks representatives of the European community expressed support for Russia's speedy integration into the European Economic Area.
In his turn, the minister said he had voiced Russia's view of the matter. It can be summed up as follows: Russia "needs a clear signal on the strategy, essence and specific points of the integration into the European Economic Area." "Of course, the process did not start yesterday, it happened much earlier," Gref noted adding that "we would prefer to have a fixed schedule and prescribed strategy." While discussing various directions of trade and economic relations understanding has been reached on some complicated issues, namely, joint projects on Russia's gas supplies to Europe, as well as certain points related to Russia's incorporation into the World Trade Organization.
The Swiss authorities as well as representatives of other European countries who held meetings with Russia, expressed solid support for the process, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade said.
Late on Monday German Gref and Presidential Economic Adviser Andrei Illarionov addressed a meeting between Russian forum participants and foreign business and finance elite where they discussed investment climate conditions in Russia.