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    RUSSIA NEEDS DIRECT FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN ITS POWER ENGINEERING SECTOR

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    LONDON, March 3 (RIA Novosti's Alexander Smotrov). Russia needs direct foreign investments in its power engineering sector, first deputy minister of economic development and trade Andrei Sharonov said answering a RIA question. Sharonov is attending a London round table on the Russian vector in the European energy sphere. "This conference confirms our interest in carrying on co-operation with Europe, in particular Britain," said Sharonov.

    "Our task is to convince the European partners in the person of British colleagues that our policy of economic reforms will not be curtailed, to show that we are aware of our drawbacks provoked by the tax system, administrative barriers and the weakness of our financial sector, and to encourage their belief in Russia's investment attractiveness and attract foreign investments to the Russian economy, in particular to the energy sector," said the deputy minister.

    The success of the reform the Russian energy sector, said Sharonov, depends on "opening it to investors, making more transparent, supplying new technologies and improving the corporate behaviour of companies." In his words, Britain is one of the most active foreign investors in the Russian economy and though Russia-UK dialogue proceeds on a regular basis, the ongoing conference is an outstanding event. "The international community asks itself and us what will happen to the Russian economy in the future," said Sharonov. "This is what we will discuss in an open and broad dialogue with European investors here in London."

    Another participant in the London forum, board chairman of the Union of Oil and Gas Producers of Russia Yuri Shafranik told journalists before the beginning of the round table: "When representatives of ministries and business sit side by side, this has more effect on co-operation and integration. ...And genuine integration of Russia and Europe is possible only in the energy sphere."

    Shafranik pointed out that "Russia as a nation badly needs direct, I repeat, direct investments rather than the sale of blocks and stakes." On the other hands, "private companies do not need new rivals." Hence, the task is to find a balance in settling this problem. "This is not a dramatic but an ordinary problem," said the Union chairman.

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