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    PUTIN, NATURE MINISTER DISCUSS FOREST CODE

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    MOSCOW, March 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has met Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev to discuss, among other things, the Forest Code.

    "When we considered the problem of farmland, this issue was very acute but it only referred to those who worked on this land. There are many of them, but it is not the entire population. The problem of forests involves the interests of nearly every Russian citizen," said Mr. Putin.

    The President pointed out that there should a weighted out approach to this issue. "There should be no delays and no hurry all the same," said Mr. Putin.

    "The solution of the Forest Code issue should be substantiated and adopted as a result of broad debates with scholars and other public, with the widest circles as well. We have many levers that can make this sector profitable. They include long-term lease, concessions, and many other options," stressed the head of state.

    Mr. Putin remarked that countries with developed economies approached the forest issue with the help of combined mechanisms.

    This is a sphere that admits no drastic solutions, the Russian president added.

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