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News summary for January 23

January 24, 2013, 9:35 UTC+3

All the headlines from the day's news

1 pages in this article

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Moscow region — Moscow will give financial and other aid to Lebanon for resolving the problems related to the upkeep of Syrian refugees on the Lebanese territory, President Vladimir Putin said here Wednesday.

“I have an offer to make, he said. “Russia is ready to give assistance to Lebanon in the solution of humanitarian problems and we’ll tell experts to estimate the size of aid, which we can extend via several channels.”

“First and foremost, there can be direct financial assistance, the volume of which is yet to be decided on,” Putin said at the talks with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. “Quite naturally, this should be the mostly strictly condition part of aid.”

He also gave the assurances that “Russia is ready to supply the necessary amounts of provisional housing, tents, and medicines – everything that might be necessary for a decent support to refugees.”


NOVO-OGAREVO — President Vladimir Putin said Russia considers Lebanon a friendly country and will develop cooperation with it, including in the military-technical field.

“We always considered and continue to consider Lebanon a friendly country,” Putin said at a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on Wednesday, January 23.

He noted that the situation in Lebanon is complex but cannot prevent the two countries from maintaining close working contact at virtually all levels.

Putin regretted the decline in bilateral trade in 2012 and said he intended to discuss this issue with Suleiman during the talks.


NOVO-OGARYOVO — Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia said Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili would do everything possible to improve relations with Russia.

Addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Ilia II said, “I want to say hello to you from our new premier [Bidzina Ivanishvili]. He will do everything possible to improve relations with Russia.”

The Catholicos-Patriarch said he believes that all problems, which exist between Georgia and Russia, “will be solved and we will be friends as before”.


DAVOS, Switzerland — Privatization of state packages in the VTB bank and the Sovcomflot shipping line is possible in 2013, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg television.

He indicated that privatization plans for this year embrace a whole range of companies including the largest ship owner, OAO Sovcomflot.


DAVOS — Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declined to say in an interview with Bloomberg television straightforwardly if he believes in the possibility of renouncing the monopoly role played by the natural gas industry giant, OAO Gazprom.

“If this should be done, we should do a minute forecasting of all the aftermaths of the move,” Medvedev said. “This is possible in theory because we have independent suppliers of natural gas now but we mustn’t lose money.”


DAVOS — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev finds it needed to investigate the reasons for the death of Sergei Magnitsky in the prison, Medvedev said in an interview with the television channel Bloomberg on Wednesday.

“I regret very much about the death of Sergei Magnitsky, because he died at the prison,” the prime minister said.


DAVOS — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev finds any rivalry with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the presidential elections in 2018 wrong and impossible, Medvedev said in an interview with the television channel Bloomberg in reply to the question, whether the rivalry between the members of the ruling tandem is possible at next presidential elections.


DAVOS — The Russian economic growth has made about 3.5% in 2012, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a plenary session of the World Economic Forum here on Wednesday.

“In general, the macroeconomic situation in Russia is quite stable. The economic growth in the previous year reached about 3.5%, the inflation rate – 6.6%,” he said, adding that this indicator is quite good with due account of the drought and a low harvest of crops.


DAVOS — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes that the Russian economy will not collapse even if the shower of petrodollars runs dry.

Medvedev acknowledged that the Russian economy’s dependence on the export or raw materials was great, but at the same time it was grossly exaggerated already now.

He said the economy over the past few years was growing not so much with oil and gas incomes, as with the production of consumer goods and services. In the longer term it is to bring about a considerable expansion of export of food and intellectual services.


DAVOS — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will present his government’s key priorities for the medium term on January 31.

“These tasks were set by the president of Russia, by the government and our understanding of the global challenges and of how we should move forward,” he said.

This will be the main document for his team that “is well established and works with total efficiency,” the prime minister said.

Medvedev said he is planning to make Russia truly open and attractive to high-tech investments in various industrial and social projects in the years to come.


DAVOS — Current oil prices are optimal, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

“We do not want prices for raw materials to be too high because they will hamper the development of the world economy. Moreover, they will hamper the development of the Russian economy,” Medvedev said at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, January 23.

“However when prices are too low, they lead to another extreme: a shortage of resources for sustainable economic growth. The current level of oil prices appears to be more or less close to the optimal one for both producers and consumers,” he said.


MOSCOW — Getting Russian citizenship will soon be much easier for those who do not have the popularity of Gerard Depardieu. The Russian authorities have devised a way of responding to those angry over the ease with which the French actor got a Russian passport, practically over one day, while many others, eager to become Russian citizens, have been waiting for years.


MOSCOW — Russia’s inflation may reach the level of 6.3 percent in the current year, Chief of the International Monetary Fund’s Mission for Russia Antonio Spilimbergo told reporters on Wednesday.


MOSCOW — Russia and Belarus continue their talks on reverse supplies from Belarusian refineries to the Russian market, Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Fyodorov said.

He said at a press conference on Wednesday, January 23, that Russia hopes to get up to two million tonnes of petroleum products from Belarus this year.


MOSCOW — The Federation Council, upper house of the Russian parliament, has ratified an agreement, under which the Eurasian Economic Commission will be headquartered in Moscow.


MOSCOW — Russia’s industrial production increased by 2.6 percent in 2012, as compared to the preceding year, the Russian State Statistics Service underlined in its report made public on Wednesday.

In December 2012, the country’s industrial output index made up 101.4 percent, as compared to the same period of 2011, and amounted to 102.4 percent as against the indicator of November 2012, the document wrote.

In 2012, Russia’s mineral production went up by 1.1 percent, while the country’s processing industry output grew by 4.1 percent, the statistics underlined.


MOSCOW — The total amount of rouble- and foreign currency-denominated private deposits in the Russian banks went up by 20 percent in 2012, as compared to the preceding year, and reached 14.251 trillion roubles (USD 1 = RUB 30.23) as of January 1, 2013, the Central Bank of Russia underlined in its report.

Herewith, the indicator skyrocketed by 6.1 percent over December 2012, the bank said.

As of January 1, 2013, the value of rouble-denominated private deposits is estimated at 11.764 billion roubles, while the private deposits in foreign currencies amounted to 2.488 trillion roubles, the Central Bank underlined in the document.


SARATOV — Russia’s first chemical weapons disposal plant in Gorny, Saratov region, will decommissioned by 2017, the head of the Federal Department for Safe Storage and Disposal of Chemical Weapons, Valery Kapashin, said at a meeting with regional Governor Valery Radayev on Wednesday, January 23.


ASTANA — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Wednesday that he was dissatisfied with how companies were being selected for participation in a tender for the use of natural resources.

Nazarbayev told a meeting devoted to results of 2012 and the implementation of Strategy-2050 that companies taking part in tenders should be thoroughly checked because “some people, predominantly bureaucrats and their relatives, grabbed (deposits) after a moratorium on investments in prospecting new fields had been lifted.

Nazarbayev said that out of 600 deposits handed over for use, 118 had been returned to the state. “If we continue working this way, we are going to sink in total chaos,” the president stressed.


ASTANA — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has instructed the government which met in an extended format on Wednesday to submit proposals within a month's time on the construction of a nuclear power station in Kazakhstan. "We should have a nuclear power station for different reasons," Nazarbayev stressed.


BERLIN — Gazprom Germania GmbH, an affiliation of the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom, plans to build new autogas filling stations in Germany, the company said in a press release in Berlin.

According to the report, Gazprom Germania will build four new stations that will be added to the six stations already in operation.

All in all, it hopes to build fifteen such facilities in Germany before the end of 2014.


DUSHANBE — Dushanbe hopes to sign a Tajikistani-Russian agreement on the customs-free supplies of one million tonnes of light petroleum products to the republic already this February, Tajikistani Minister of Energy and Industry Gul Sherali told a news conference on Wednesday.

“In February, the Tajikistani-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation will hold its meeting, during which we plans to put forth to our partners a new draft agreement with due account of the existing claims,” the minister said. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov co-chairs the commission.


KIEV —  Ukraine’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may go up by three to four percent in the current year, Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said during Wednesday’s meeting of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers.

“Contrary to all unfavourable conditions existing in the world, Ukraine may achieve a 3-4 percent growth of its GDP in 2013 with the inflation rate at about three percent,” he said, adding that the country may reach better and more qualitative development rates in 2014.


KIEV — The opposition in the Ukrainian parliament has collected the required 150 signatures for calling an emergency session on January 29 to discuss the Yulia Timoshenko situation.

At the emergency session, the opposition intends to raise the question of Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka’s resignation and create a commission to investigate violations of legislation with regard to former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko.


DAVOS — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that most of the 50,000 corruption cases in the country would end with guilty verdicts.

“Fifty thousand cases have been opened on charges of corruption,” Medvedev told Bloomerg. “I think it’s a lot. A considerable part of them will reach the court and end with guilty verdicts. What else is this if not the fight against corruption?”

He stressed that corruption is “a state of mentality” and “not only government officials”.


DAVOS — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev disagreed with Europe’s position on the Third Energy Package as it calls for a revision of existing agreements.

“As for antimonopoly structures, we are not against different procedures if they occur by law, but we think the position on the Third Energy Package is wrong,” Medvedev told Bloomerg on Wednesday, January 23.

“Even if it pursue positive goals, it has a significant impact on existing ties and means a rejection of current agreements,” Medvedev said, adding that Russia thinks this is a violation.


DAVOS — State agencies should take a wiser stance on relations with civic society, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday as he answered questions at a session of the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"Our civic society /in Russia/ has become more mature and that's why the government should take a wiser stance on relations with it," he said. "That's the only way for us to solve momentous tasks," he said.

Decisions have been taken in recent years facilitating the development of sivic society, including a law on a more liberal procedure for setting up political parties.


DAVOS — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke up against politicising Gazprom’s operations in Europe.

“Gazprom is a reliable supplier, its behavior is clear and predictable,” Medvedev told Bloomberg on Wednesday, January 23.

“Gazprom has not the kind of political will that is sometimes ascribed to it. Gazprom earns money,” he said.

The prime minister noted that Gazprom supplies 30 percent of natural gas to Europe, with the remaining 70 percent brought by European countries from other suppliers.


DAVOS — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev disagreed with the opinion that Russian business does not invest in the national economy.

“Although these questions were raised in social media, they do not reflect the situation quite accurately,” Medvedev said during a Q&A session at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, January 23.

“Russian business invests in its country more than elsewhere,” he said, adding that the biggest part of 400 billion U.S. dollars invested in the country last year were provided by Russian business.


DAVOS — The government will not finance the construction of oil pipelines in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, January 23.

“The state will certainly not provide budget funding. That I can say definitively,” he said.

At the same time, he did not rule that Vnesheconombank might provide loans for such projects. “Will state-owned institutions lend money for such a project? I do not rule this out,” Dvorkovich said.

This issue will be discussed at the Russian government’s Commission on the Fuel and Energy Sector in the first quarter of 2013.


DAVOS — Russia’s LUKOIL oil company holds talks with the country’s major oil pipeline operator, Transneft, on the construction of a pipeline for the transportation of petroleum products from Nizhny Novgorod to Moscow, LUKOIL President Vagit Alekperov told reporters on Wednesday.

He confirmed the fact of the talks, adding that the company plans to raise the issue on intensifying the program aimed at the construction of petroleum product oil pipelines during the upcoming meeting of the relevant commission chaired by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.


DAVOS — LUKOIL plans to produce 116 million tonnes of fuel equivalent in the current year, President of the company Vagit Alekperov told reporters on Wednesday.

“We are confidnt that the company can guarantee the growth of its output by 1.5-2.0 percent this year,” he said, adding that this would be at about 116 million tonnes of fuel equivalent.

In 2012, LUKOIL jointly with the output of its subsidiaries and its share in the production of other companies raised its production of hydrocarbons, which is preliminary estimated at about 114.4 million tonnes of fuel equivalent (the growth was by 1.2 percent).


MOSCOW — All technical and legal issues on the way towards a visaless regimen in relations with the European Union have been settled, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference devoted to the results of 2012.

“Taking a political decision is next in line,” he said.


MOSCOW — Russia is taking measures to close the Gabala radar station, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Lavrov said, “The problem has been finally resolved. Now we are taking measures to close the radar station.”


MOSCOW — Russia has not formally discussed with France the provision of transport services to Paris in connection with the situation in Mali, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference on Wednesday that focused on the results of 2012.


MOSCOW — Russia is not planning any deployment or involvement of additional forces against the Afghan threat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.


MOSCOW — Russia together with Vietnam and New Zealand in a pilot regime is considering prospects for the creation of a free trade zone, RF Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.




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