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    RUSSIAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TRADE MINISTER COMES OUT FOR ECONOMIC LIBERALIZATION

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    FRANKFURT-AM-MAIN, April 2, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref came out for the liberalization of Russian economy.

    The Russian cabinet of ministers is to privatize 13,000 state enterprises in the near future, Mr. Gref told the German major business newspaper Handelsblatt.

    According to German Gref, the state-owned block of shares of the Lukoil oil concern will be put up for sale in 2004. Russian joint stock company Gazprom is open for foreign investors, he stressed.

    The Economic Development and Trade Minister called on German investors to participate in the implementation of joint projects, in particular, in the spheres of energy, processing of raw materials, railways modernization, high technologies, engineering, spacecraft and aircraft production and telecommunications.

    He expressed hope that our German partners will participate in the development of these sectors for the welfare of our states.

    "The current economic situation in Russia is favorable for business activities," German Gref said.

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