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    RUSSIAN-GERMAN COMMISSION TO DISCUSS PROGRAMME OF SUPPORT FOR ETHNIC GERMANS LIVING IN RUSSIA

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    MOSCOW, April 5, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - An inter-government Russian-German commission will discuss the outcomes of and prospects for cooperation in ensuring support of ethnic Germans living in Russia.

    The commission will hold its 12th meeting in Berlin on April 5-6. The Russian delegation is being led by Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Mukhamed Tsikanov, who is also the co-chairman of the commission. Johan Welt, a German federal government official in charge of migrants' and ethnic minorities' affairs, is leading the German delegation.

    Russia has supported ethnic Germans as part of a presidential programme, the Socio-economic and Cultural Basis for the Revival of Russia's Germans for the Period from 1997 to 2006. Germany has contributed to the implementation of the programme.

    "The meeting is expected to approve the guidelines and common standards for measures to ensure support for ethnic Germans on Russian territory. The meeting will also approve a concept of solving the issue of the ownership of real estate built in Russia on German budgetary funds as part of the projects to support Russia's Germans," the Economic Development and Trade Ministry's press service told RIA Novosti yesterday.

    The Russian-German commission has been working since 1991. However, the meeting, which will open today, will be the first one after a 3-year interval, which was caused by uncertainty surrounding the real estate ownership rights. The Economic Development and Trade Ministry and its German counterpart have drafted a concept for resolving the problem, which will be central on the meeting agenda.

    Since 1991, Germany has channelled some 800 million marks, above all in investments in the housing construction in German communities, as aid to ethnic Germans residing in Russia.

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