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    MOSCOW, MARCH 31, 2004, (RIA NOVOSTI). - The Russian Council of Legislators, which unites the speakers of all of the nation's eighty-nine regional parliaments, has called upon the executive branch of government to stop short of privatizing forest land.

    At today's session in Moscow, the Council of Legislators considered a draft Forestry Code elaborated by the federal Economic Development & Trade Ministry. Session participants welcomed as positive the document's provisions on market mechanisms for land and property management, including lease, sublease, sale, and change in the original use of forest land. On the other hand, many of the attendees, including the speaker of the federal legislature's upper house, Sergei Mironov, pronounced themselves against the introduction of private ownership of forest land. Doubtful of whether this measure will be able to solve the problems of Russia's forestry sector, the lawmakers recommended to the Cabinet that it enhance government regulation of all forest lands in Russian territory.

    Some also criticized the draft Forest Code for not being up to the tasks and goals of forestry legislation reform.

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