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    PARIS HOSTS RUSSIA-WTO TALKS

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    PARIS, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref and European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy held a regular round of bilateral talks on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization in Paris on Thursday.

    We achieved progress, in particular, in energy sphere and the sphere of industrial goods and services, Mr. Gref said following the meeting.

    According to him, the sides agreed to hold the next meeting in Moscow on May 20 and to consider the final folder of documents. In addition, discussions will continue at the technical level.

    The text of the final protocol can be submitted to the next Russia-EU meeting in Moscow on May 21, the Economic Development and Trade Minister said.

    Mutually beneficial solutions of energy problems may have been found in Paris today, RIA Novosti's sources said.

    EU demands to equalize internal and external prices on energy carriers, first of all, natural gas, were among main obstacles to the end of the negotiations.

    Last Sunday French President Jacques Chirac met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and said these demands were excessive. He called on his EU partners to show understanding of the Russian position.

    The talks with the European Union and the USA on Russia's accession to WTO can be accomplished by the end of 2004, German Gref told journalists yesterday.

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