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News summary for March 27

March 28, 2013, 9:32 UTC+3

All the headlines from the day's news

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DURBAN /South Africa/ The BRICS states have set up a Business Council, Brazil President Dilma Rousseff said at a working lunch with representatives of the business communities of the five countries.

The Russian members of the Business Council were presented by President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergei Katyrin. The Russian part of the Council also includes VEB head Vladimir Dmitriyev, Rostekh Corporation director Sergei Chemezov, Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin and director general of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriyev.


DURBAN Russia calls for boosting mutual trade and investments using the BRICS potential, President Vladimir Putin said during a working lunch with representatives of business circles on Wednesday.

"Russia advocates a more effective use of BRICS' economic potential while leaning on business, in order to boost mutual trade, investments and industrial and technological cooperation," Putin said, "the establishment of a BRICS Development Bank will certainly provide good support to this work."


MOSCOW At an ongoing BRICS summit in the South African Republic Russian President Vladimir Putin has set a clear-cut vector of foreign policy, in which Moscow has a growing interest. Putin’s visit to South Africa soon followed his negotiations with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow.


DURBAN  Russian President Vladimir Putin considers useful the creation of a development bank by the BRICS countries.

“Russia believes that it is necessary to rely on business to use the BRICS economic potential more effectively in order to intensify trad, investments and expand industrial and technological cooperation,” Putin said at a meeting with businessmen on Wednesday.

“The creation of the BRICS development bank will be a good support in this work,” the Russian president stressed.


DURBAN – Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes for the assistance of the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to attain a quicker global economic growth during Russia’s presidency in the G20 group. Putin has made a statement to this effect at an ongoing BRICS summit in Durban on Wednesday.

“Guided by the logic of permanent cooperation with the BRICS partners, we are working during Russia’s presidency in the G20 group,” Putin noted, thanking the BRICS leaders for the support of the Russian initiatives and the assistance in filling with the substantive content draft decisions of a G20 summit, which will be held in St. Petersburg on September 5-6.


DURBAN  Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to strengthen interstate relations in order to make it among key elements of global governance.

“Cooperation within BRICS is one of the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy,” Putin said at the Five plenary session on Wednesday.

This priority was recorded in the Policy Concept on Russia’s Participation in BRICS, the Russian president said.


DURBAN – Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to form a BRICS secretariat to coordinate the BRICS activity.

“The BRICS agenda is broadening, new trends are emerging, the need for the coordination of the current activities is becoming more obvious,” the Russian leader said.

“We propose to consider the forming of a virtual BRICS secretariat, which would be a working instrument of dialogue between our governments, as well as an important information resource, which covers the BRICS activities in the unbiased way for the international community,” Putin noted.


DURBAN – Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the BRICS countries to step up interaction with the United Nations Organisation.

“It would be useful to make the contacts between BRICS and leading international and regional organisations regular and improve systematic interaction, primarily within the U.N. and its specialised institutions,” Putin said at the BRICS summit on Wednesday.

A final document of the summit will be submitted to the U.N. Secretary-General and to the chairman of the U.N. General Assembly, Putin said.


DURBAN – Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is hopeful that the documents, which would be adopted at the BRICS summit, would help overcome market turbulence.

“In order to overcome negative tendencies on the global market the BRICS countries should broader use their own resources and possibilities. It is necessary to expand trade and economic cooperation, increase mutual investments by times and launch key business projects,” Putin said at the Five plenary session on Wednesday.

“The work on these trends is being done,” the Russian president added.

Putin said after the session the BRICS countries would sign agreements on cooperation, on co-financing green economy projects and infrastructural projects in Africa.


DURBAN – Russia put forth an initiative to work out a strategy on BRICS long-term economic cooperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

After the BRICS summit on Wednesday, Putin said such strategy “would take into account the country’s development plans and help speed up the economic growth of BRICS”.

The summiteers focused on the development of business-like relations. The BRICS Business Council was set up on Russia’s initiative, Putin said.

Putin also noted the importance of other documents signed at the summit. He named the following – an agreement on financing green economy projects and a document on financing infrastructural projects in Africa.


DURBAN – Russian President Vladimir Putin called for strengthening BRICS cooperation in the field of security, countering terrorism and illegal drug trafficking.

Speaking at the BRICS summit on Wednesday, Putin said: “The joint efforts aimed at fighting modern challenges and threats such as illicit drug trafficking is becoming more and more pressing.”

“Russia initiates the first meeting of leaders of BRICS anti-drug services in Moscow in June,” the Russian president said.

“It is important to strengthen the basics of international information security and use the BRICS opportunities to promote corresponding initiatives,” he said.

“It is expedient to instruct the BRICS agencies to prepare a framework document, which would record the BRICS states’ common approaches in this sphere,” Putin stressed.


DURBAN – Russia is going to do more to ease the debt burden on African countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

“We plan an extra effort to ease the debt burden. The intergovernmental agreements on the “debt for development swap” program have been concluded with Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique to a total of 263.6 million dollars,” Putin told the meeting of the BRICS leaders with heads of African states.


DURBAN – The initial contribution to the BRICS Development Bank should be substantial and sufficient for the Bank to be effective in financing infrastructure, BRICS leaders said in their Declaration adopted at the 5th summit of the grouping in Durban, South Africa, on Wednesday, March 27.

The document says that “developing countries face challenges of infrastructure development due to insufficient long-term financing and foreign direct investment, especially investment in capital stock.”

The BRICS leaders stressed that “this constrains global aggregate demand.”


DURBAN – The BRICS countries have agreed to establish a self-governing currency reserve of 100 billion dollars to be used in emergency situations, the final declaration of the summit says.

The document notes that the BRICS finance ministers have arrived at the conclusion that the agreement on creating a self-governing currency reserve would have a positive effect as a precaution and help the BRICS countries prevent a shortage of short-term liquidity.


DURBAN  Russia and South Africa will discuss the export of platinum group metals this summer, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoi said on Wednesday, March 27.

“As for more detailed mechanisms and organisational issues related, among other things, to export, we will discuss this in Moscow this summer within the framework of the inter-governmental working group. The Central Bank and our companies -- Norilsk Nickel – which are operating in this market will join us,” the minister said.


DURBAN The BRICS countries confirm their strong rejection of any further militarization of the conflict in Syria, as follows from a declaration adopted at the end of the BRICS summit.

“We are expressing our profound concern over the worsening situation in the sphere of security and in the humanitarian situation in Syria. We condemn the ever more frequent cases of violation of human rights and international humanitarian law as a result of the continuing violence,” the document runs.

BRICS believe the joint communique serves as the basis for a settlement of the Syrian crisis.


DURBAN – The leaders of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) voiced their concern over the situation in Syria in the final Declaration of the grouping's 5th summit in Durban on Wednesday, March 27.

“As the Declaration says, all participants reiterated the relevancy of the Geneva Communique of the Action Group on Syria. We fix our attention and voice concern about the situation there,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is the Russian Sherpa in BRICS, said.


DURBAN – The next summit of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) grouping will take place in Brazil in 2014.

“Russia, India, China and South Africa convey their appreciation to Brazil for its offer to host the first Summit of the second cycle of BRICS Summits, i.e. the Sixth BRICS Summit in 2014 and convey their full support thereto,” the BRICS leaders aid in their final Declaration on Wednesday, March 27.

They agreed that the next summit cycles will, in principle, follow the sequence of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

However until then BRICS leaders will have an opportunity to synchronise their positions at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg in September 2013.


DURBAN  A future BRICS Development Bank should rely on market economy principles of operation and support the most effective projects in the group of five, while a consensus over where its headquarters will be located can be achieved any time, the chairman of the board of directors of the Renova company, Viktor Vekselberg, said. He was taking part in a BRICS business forum during the association’s summit.

“We should master the skill of cooperating in major, fundamental projects, first and foremost, infrastructural ones, which may draw joint money. In that sense the emergence of a BRICS Development Bank would be of great importance,” Vekselberg told ITAR-TASS in an interview.


MOSCOW President Vladimir Putin will meet Secretary-General of the International Exhibitions Bureau Vicente Loscertales on March 28, the Kremlin press service reported on Wednesday.

The talks will also involve chairman of the Executive Committee Stein Christensens. Putin and Loscertales are planning to discuss Russia’s application to hold the EXPO-2020 in Yekaterinburg from May 1 to October 31. The General Assembly of the International Exhibitions Bureau will determine the winners in November 2013, the press service said.


MOSCOW Russian governors should be electable, but the federative peculiarities should be taken into account, particularly in the North Caucasus, Russian Prime Minister and leader of the United Russia Party Dmitry Medvedev stated on Wednesday.

“I remain a supporter of the position that the top officials in Russian federal constituents should be electable, because our citizens want this. As they want this, we should grant this right to them. But we have a federative state, and federative peculiarities should be taken into account in several cases in general. First of all, this concerns the Caucasus,” Medvedev said in his lecture within the project “Civil University”.


MOSCOW  The ruling United Russia party should bring together people of different age, social standing and faith.

“United Russia should find the strength to bring together young and old people, representatives of different social groups and faiths.” Medvedev said in his lecture at Civil University on Wednesday, March 27. “We must glue generations together,” he said, admitting that it would be hard to harmonise the views of people who are 20 years old and those who are 47.

“There is also another problem in the country. We should constantly focus our efforts on ensuring that members of different social groups and faiths feel secure in our country. That’s a very challenging task. Who can do this? Earnestly, only our party can. What I am driving at is that such a party as United Russia is objectively needed in the country today,” the prime minister, who is the leader of the party, said.


MOSCOW – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the government should be as open as possible.

Speaking at Civic University on Wednesday, March 27, Medvedev admitted that “there is a systemic contradiction: no ministry wants to open up, be it the Defence Ministry or the Health Ministry. They all want to make decisions in private. And this happens not only in our country.”

In his opinion, “how much a country is civilised is measured by how much the general public is involved in this process.”

Medvedev stressed that the government must make some secret decisions or decisions that are not disclosed to the public. “There are some decisions that have to be made in private, for example, some reform decisions have to be made in a very tough manner and sometimes without even preliminary discussion. Otherwise, everything will fall apart,” he said.


MOSCOW Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev opposed attempts to juxtapose conservatism to modernisation.

Conservatism does not reject modernisation of Russia as a whole and of party life in particular, Medvedev said in a lecture on Wednesday, March 27, at Civic University created by the ruling United Russia party.

“Modernisation and development remain the key to success in our country and to the success of the [United Russia] party too. If we think that everything is perfect, this will mean a collapse of the model we have developed over the past several years. As soon as this model stops evolving, it will no longer be,” he said.


MOSCOW Russia’s consumer inflation rate increased by 0.1 percent in the period from March 19 to March 25, 2013, the Federal State Statistics Service said in its regular report made public on Wednesday, adding that the indicator has gone up by 0.4 percent since the beginning of the current month and has grown by 1.9 percent since the beginning of the year.


MOSCOW The governmental commission on legislative drafting activities has approved the draft law, which envisages amendments to the Russian-Kazakhstani intergovernmental agreement on trade and economic cooperation in the sphere of oil and petroleum product supplies to Kazakhstan signed on December 9, 2010.

According to the official website of the Russian government, the amendments envisage an oil counter-delivery to Russia in exchange of petroleum products supplied to Kazakhstan.


MOSCOW Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev demanded imprisonment for selling alcohol to minors.

He stressed that this problem has assumed threatening dimensions lately. “Legislators should pay it attention,” he said on Wednesday, March 27.

Medvedev also said that he did not object to raising the alcohol sale age from 18 to 21 years. “Eighteen or twenty-one, this is up to legislators to decide. Either way. I think this is not the most important thing although I personally have no strong objections to 21 years,” the prime minister said.


MOSCOW The date of the founding congress of the All-Russia People’s Front (ARPF) may be determined at its upcoming conference in Rostov on Don on March 28-29.

The conference titled “Building Justice. Social Policy with Russia” will focus on topics that were raised in President Vladimir Putin’s election article published on February 13, 2012. Five discussion sections will be set up: Strong Family. Child Protection; People’s Health, Healthy Lifestyle; Decent Work and Social Prestige of Working People; Russia is a Country without Poverty; Traditions and Quality of Education.


BELGRADE Gazprom CEO Gazprom Alexei Miller has signed two agreements on the supplies of Russia’s natural gas to Serbia in the period up to 2021, the government’s press service said on Wednesday.

Director of Russia’s Yugorosgaz Vladimir Koldin put his signature to the first document, which Srbijagaz Director General Dusan Bajatovic put his signature to the second documents.

According to the documents signed, Serbia got the guarantees of annual supplies of up to five billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia. The major advantages of the agreements are in the flexibility of gas supplies, the absence of fines and the possibility of additional decline in Russia’s gas cost.


BELGRADE The price of Russia’s gas for Serbia will be 13 percent smaller than at the earlier established level, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said here on Wednesday, at a ceremony devoted to the signing of the relevant agreements.

“Owing to the long-term agreement, Serbia will receive Russia’s gas at preferential prices in the period up to 2021,” Miller said, emphasising that Serbia is Russia’ strategic partner in the energy sphere and the documents signed earlier on the day is the best evidence to the fact.


MOSCOW Russian gas export to Serbia can increase twofold and amount to 1.5 billion cubic metres every year within 10 years, Gazprom reported on Wednesday.

In 2012 Gazprom supplied 0.74 billion cubic metres of gas to Serbia.


TURKU, Finland  Russia and Finland intend to restore their bilateral trade turnover in the next year or two to the level of 2012 when it dropped by 10 percent, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Wednesday, March 27, in Turku at a meeting of the inter-governmental commission on trade and economic cooperation and the “Russian-Finnish Partnership in Modernising National Economies” forum.

Two important documents were signed at the meeting: an action programme for Russian-Finnish economic cooperation under the “Partnership for Modernisation” initiative, and an agreement on cooperation between the Russian Federal Agency for the Development of the State Border Facilities and the Finnish Border Guard Service.”


HANOI The Customs Union (CU) (consisting of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) enters into a negotiating process with Vietnam on the conclusion of an agreement on a Free Trade Area (FTA). The fisrst round of talks to this effect is to be held here on Wednesday.


HANOI The Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) have started talks to sign an agreement on the free trade zone.

“We hope to form up a free trade zone agreement, which will regulate trade in goods and services, get access to the market of investments and give us an opportunity to take part in key state infrastructural projects,” Trade Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission Andrei Slepnev said on Wednesday.


MINSK Belarus and Kazakhstan are going to triple bilateral trade from one to three billion U.S. dollars in the next few years, said Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy, who also co-chairs the Belarusian-Kazakhstani intergovernmental cooperation commission.




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