Russian News: July 11th, 2008!

RBC, 11.07.2008, Moscow 14:24:02.Russia is still positive that Iranian threats are not credible and are a mere excuse for US missile shield plans despite Iran test firing missiles in the Persian Gulf, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists today. The tests organized by Iran have confirmed that it only possesses missiles with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers. This bears out Russia’s stance that the missile defense shield the US is currently seeking to build in Eastern Europe is not needed to intercept this type of missiles, Lavrov added.

RBC, 11.07.2008, Moscow 15:59:15.The Russian government is discussing the possibility of acquiring Oman’s stake in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), Igor Sechin told journalists today. He added that Russia had already made a proposal and that the matter was currently under discussion.

RBC, 11.07.2008, Moscow 15:17:05.Russia’s Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov approves of the idea of holding a special G8 session, the so-called grain summit, as well as a meeting of G8 countries’ Agricultural Ministers, he told a press conference organized by RBC today. The food crisis is now increasingly gripping the world, while a third of globally cultivated areas are used to produce biofuel instead of food crops, Mironov said. He also mentioned other factors causing the food crisis, such as spiraling global food prices. Mironov pointed out that Russia is the only country in the world which has an opportunity to increase its cultivated area, adding that it is an important reserve that could help alleviate the crisis.

RBC, 11.07.2008, Moscow 14:45:58.The timeframe for holding an international conference on the Middle East in Moscow will be determined in September 2008, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists after a meeting with his Jordanian counterpart Salah Eddin Bashir. Lavrov pointed out that Moscow wished to use the conference to promote cooperation in carrying out agreements that were reached in Annapolis, USA during the previous conference.

RBC, 11.07.2008, Moscow 13:19:50.The budget deficit of Russia’s constituent entities fell several times in the first half of 2008, Russian Deputy PM and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told the Federation Council today. He specified that he was speaking about those regions and republics of Russia where a budget deficit had been planned. Kudrin stressed that the debt of Russia’s constituent entities was also decreasing. This enabled the government to reallocate federal budget funds. For instance, RUB 6bn (approx. USD 256m) will be earmarked from the federal budget to cover the expenditures of Russia’s constituent entities. The reallocation of another RUB 19bn (approx. USD 810m) from the federal budget will be discussed at a meeting of a trilateral working group, Kudrin said.

RBC, 11.07.2008, Moscow 12:23:51.The Bank of Russia is set to upgrade its discount rate from 10.75 to 11 percent on Monday, the Russian monetary regulator’s external and public relations department said today.

RBC, 11.07.2008, Moscow 09:35:36.Gazprom predicts that by 2020 gas consumption in Russia’s Primorsky region will increase tenfold. By that time, the holding expects its production in Sakhalin and Yakutia to run up to 57.5bn cubic meters of gas a year, according to the preliminary documents prepared by Russia’s gas monopoly for the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok pipeline project. The pipeline will carry 8bn cubic meters of the Sakhalin gas, while Gazprom’s annual exports to Asia Pacific countries will rise from 800m cubic meters in 2015 to 30.1bn cubic meters in 2020.

RBC, 11.07.2008, Moscow 11:41:10.The Federation Council has ratified a Russian-Kazakh intergovernmental agreement signed on October 3, 2006, which provides for cooperation in the creation of a joint venture between Gazprom and KazMunayGas. The new company is to be established on the basis of the Orenburg gas processing plant. The joint venture is expected to buy raw gas produced in Kazakhstan’s Karachaganak gas condensate field, process it at the Orenburg plant, and sell it on the Kazakh market, as well as export it through Gazprom.