RUSSIA AND THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION

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RUSSIA AND THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION

Vremya Novostei, October 15, 2001, p. 2

A program designed to boost the readiness of Russian enterprises for membership in the World Trade Organization will soon be implemented in Russia. The necessity of the program is ascribed to the shortage of specialists in Russia ready to promote Russian businesses’ interests within the framework of the World Trade Organization.

OMBUDSMEN MEET

Vremya Novostei, October 15, 2001, p. 3

Addressing his colleagues at a roundtable conference held in Smolensk, senior Russian ombudsman Oleg Mironov called for a search for a new concept of operation and consensus with the authorities. Human rights activists from Russia, CIS, and neighbouring counties resolved that only an alliance with the authorities was going to earn them a place in lawmaking.

Mironov: Instead of standing aside and logging human rights abuses, we and the authorities should concentrate on their prevention.

FIRST CONGRESS OF COMPATRIOTS TAKES PLACE

Vremya Novostei, October 15, 2001, p. 3

The first Congress of Compatriots ended in Moscow last Friday. It approved of the governmental program of support of Russian Diaspora and establishment of an international council of compatriots. Soon, this structure will be the one to represent the Russian Diaspora in negotiations with the authorities. Deputy Premier Viktor Khristenko promised the council government support.

Speaking on the Duma’s behalf, its Chairman Gennadi Seleznev announced that “Duma’s doors are always open for foreign organizations or Russian compatriots”. He supported as well the idea of a Russian newspaper and radio which “will facilitate contacts with diasporas abroad”. Seleznev condemned “Russian bureaucrats” who created problems for Russians who are bent on returning to Russia and promised that the law “On citizenship of the Russian Federation” to be discussed by the government in this session lay emphasis on granting citizenship to Russians first and foremost.

RUSSIA PROMOTES THE IDEA OF AN INTERNATIONAL WATER TRANSPORT ROUTE

Rossiya, October 15, 2001, p. 4

It seems that foreign partners do not object to the idea of connecting the Danube, the Don, and the Volga. European Union transport ministers met in Rotterdam to discuss the future of water transport routes. Russia has a chance to secure a place in the project and some hefty dividends as well.

Nikolai Smirnov, head of the River Fleet Services of the Russian Transport Ministry, estimates the capacity of the transport corridor at 15 million tons a year. Transit dividends will amount to $1 billion.

A new transport route by water will cut down the transportation of consignments from the Caspian region, Middle East, Persian Gulf, and Southwest Asia by 50% or even 65%.

ZATULIN: RUSSIAN CONTINGENT IN ABKHAZIA SHOULD BE FORTIFIED

Rossiya, October 15, 2001, p. 5

Konstantin Zatulin, Director of the Institute of CIS States: Georgia’s demands that Russian peacekeepers be pulled out once again demonstrates the true objectives and goals of official Tbilisi in the unfolding conflict. It is another evidence showing that the Georgian authorities did send Ruslan Gelayev’s gang from the Panki gorge to Abkhazia. These days, Russian peacekeepers are the major barrier preventing hostilities on a large scale like the ones that swept the area in 1992 and 1993.

Tbilisi’s statement cannot serve as a reason to withdraw Russian troops, which was sent to the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone in 1994 on the consent of both warring sides. It cannot be pulled out without the consent of both sides. If the situation is such that Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze needs a “small victorious war”, well, Russia has its own interests in the region. They boil down to the necessity to maintain peace and stability in the conflict area and in southern Russia.

ALL-RUSSIA CONVENES A CONGRESS

Kommersant, October 15, 2001, p. 2

The second and last congress of All-Russia took place in order to pass the decision to join the Unity-Fatherland alliance. Vladimir Yakovlev, leader of All-Russia and governor of St. Petersburg, says that the alliance will be joined on two conditions – equal rights for all participants and inclusion of the words “all” and “Russia” in the name of the party to be formed (which Yuri Luzhkov and Sergei Shoigu plan to christen United Fatherland).

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