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G-8 remains an effective political instrument
G-8 remains an effective political instrument, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after meeting British Prime Minister Tony Blair."We support G-8 summit agenda ideas of the British leadership and Prime Minister. We hope this instrument for coordinating positions on the most important issues will remain just as effective," Putin said."Russia's G-8 membership is important because Russia can comprehend the problems of transitional-economy countries," he added.Putin expects no Russia-EU problems, now that some countries have rejected the EU constitution. "The constitution was rejected; but I expect no complications in Russia-EU relations," Putin told RIA Novosti. Blair promised to oversee Russia-EU relations during the UK's EU presidency. I do not think that EU-constitution discussions should hinder Russia-EU relations, Blair said. We shall oversee such relations starting with July, he added. The UK is to preside in the EU after Luxembourg starting with July 1. Putin said he would order the Ministry of Finance to write off poorest-country debts in line with all acceptable British proposals. Russia is the third most generous creditor after Japan and France. "I will order the Ministry of Finance to do so together with British and other colleagues," Putin noted. The Russian head of state agreed that Africa faced many problems, suggesting that poorest countries be democratized on a par with financial aid and writing off their debts. According to Putin, he and Blair discussed climate changes and the Kyoto protocol in detail. "Russia and the UK voice similar positions on this issue," Putin said. "Russia has ratified the Kyoto protocol. The practical aspects of this process are quite important. We would like to negotiate with countries that remain outside this process, or which have joined it only formally," he added
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