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    RUSSIA TO PRESIDE IN G8

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    WASHINGTON, FEBRUARY 20 (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT ARKADY ORLOV) - The Russian Foreign Ministry's diplomatic academy is to open advanced-training courses for people from those specific Russian ministries and departments, which will help organize the G8's 2006 summit on Russian territory, this March. Russia is to host G8 presidency for the first time in 2006.

    This was disclosed to reporters in Washington February 19 by Russia's ambassador at large Vadim Lukov, who attended a conference of G8 representatives, who, in turn, are preparing for the next G8 summit at Georgia's Sea Island ocean resort.

    In Lukov's words, Russia will preside in the G8 over the January 1 - December 31, 2006 period. Russian authorities will start preparing for this responsible role well in advance.

    Any country, which presides in the G8, faces serious organizational problems, Lukov noted, comparing such work with Olympics that would last 12 months in a row.

    The maturity, professionalism and competence of the presiding country's entire executive branch will be tested rather seriously, the ambassador said, reminding that G8 summits were preceded by preparatory work, including 60-80 conferences and talks at ministerial and expert level.

    The G8 can now be called a lab, which forges the globalization-era mentality, as well as that concerning inter-dependence of the world's countries, Lukov went on to say. Multilateral diplomacy, which is the pillar of the G8's work, requires top-level professionalism on the part of any specific country, which presides in the G8; the G8 presiding country must heed the topicality and international significance of various summit issues, as well as the international community's reaction, while preparing for G8 summits.

    Russia boasts successful experience of organizing such large-scale events, the diplomat noted. For instance, 42 world leaders negotiated in St. Petersburg last year, while celebrating the city's 300th anniversary; add to this CIS summits.

    28 Russian ministries and departments have been asked to choose their staffers to attend courses at the Russian Foreign Ministry's diplomatic academy, Lukov said in conclusion.

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