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APEC forum to boost development of Russia's Far East - Putin

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Russia's president said Saturday he is confident a summit of Pacific Rim countries, which may be held in Vladivostok in 2012, will help jumpstart investment in the country's Far East region.
VLADIVOSTOK, January 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president said Saturday he is confident a summit of Pacific Rim countries, which may be held in Vladivostok in 2012, will help jumpstart investment in the country's Far East region.

Russia proposed hosting an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in 2012 last November. The bid will be considered after the 2011 rotating presidency has been announced.

"We should not exaggerate anything, but the APEC summit may become an important factor in the development of the Primorye Territory, as well as of the entire [Russian] Far East," Vladimir Putin said at a conference in Vladivostok.

He said about 100 billion rubles ($3.75 billion) will need to be spent on preparations for the 2012 summit, adding that would be money well spent.

Putin said he issued a special decree establishing a state commission on coordination of socio-economic development of Russia's Far East, to be headed up by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier today the decision to hold the 2012 APEC summit in Vladivostok may be made this coming fall in Australia.

"The matter may be decided at the APEC summit in Australia," he said, adding that Russia is one of the few APEC member countries that have never held the rotating presidency.

"In this respect, the bid is quite logical," he said.

Vladivostok is a seaport in the Primorye Territory in Russia's Far East.

The countries holding the rotating presidency in the organization this decade have already been determined. Last year's host, Vietnam, was succeeded by Australia, Peru, Singapore and Japan.

APEC is the world's largest international trade and economic organization, with its member countries' overall population exceeding 2.5 billion people and with a combined GDP of $19 trillion. Major regional nations include Russia, Australia, Canada, China, the United States, Japan, and South Korea.

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