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    MOSCOW, March 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The forest resources of Russia must be used with care and efficiently, taking into consideration the questions of economic development. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov spoke about it on Thursday at the opening of the government session.

    "The Russian forests are a tremendous resource material, which must be used with care and efficiently, taking into consideration, on the one hand, the questions of economic development, and, on the other, the preservation of a favourable ecological situation," he said, presenting a draft Forest Code to the Cabinet of Ministers.

    In using forests efficiently, it is necessary at the same time to preserve them, "in this case it will bring maximum benefit for the people," Mikhail Fradkov said.

    He underscored also the social importance of the use of the mineral wealth. At the end of February, he said, the Cabinet already considered the draft Water Code.

    "The urgent task today is to work out clear concepts of regulating problems connected with water, forests and the use of the mineral wealth," the Prime Minister underscored. "In the near future we must submit these laws for the consideration to the State Duma (Parliament's Lower House)."

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