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#1 - JRL 7224
Financial Times (UK)
June 16, 2003
Russian stability score hits a high

Russia's stability score reached its highest level since the Lehman Brothers Eurasia Group Stability Index (Legsi) began publication in 2001.

The rise in June came on the strength of robust fundamentals buoyed by high oil prices, renewed relations with the US, continued structural reform, and an end to speculation on a cabinet reshuffle.

China and Nigeria also lifted their stability. China's score improved as concerns over Sars faded and new president Hu Jintao raised his profile on the international scene.

Nigeria's improved showing followed the inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, who placed several key allies in positions of leadership in the legislature, improving the strength of his government.

Argentina's and Saudi Arabia's performances were mixed.

Argentina's overall stability improved in June due largely to improvements in key economic indicators but the government component of stability decreased due to the controversial nature of Nestor Kirchner's victory in the presidential election.

Saudi Arabia's stability declined due to a number of domestic and regional incidents.

The al-Qaeda terrorist bombings in Riyadh that targeted expatriate compounds and US foreign nationals in particular damaged already wobbly US-Saudi ties. Similarly, the collapse of the Dollars 20bn Saudi Gas Initiative, which involved eight leading international energy companies, had an impact on the economy component of stability. Finally, continuing instability in neighbouring Iraq and renewed violence between Israel and the Palestinians depressed Saudi Arabia's regional security.

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