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    SUMMARY: Putin briefs journalists after G8 summit

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    MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a briefing after the summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in Gleneagles Friday.

    The 2006 G8 summit will be held in St. Petersburg, Putin said. He said the main issues of Russia's G8 presidency next year would be energy security and education. The Russian president added that demographic problems would be discussed at the summit as well. "The fatter and wealthier we become the more problems we have with demography," he said. Putin said the European Union would conduct special research into demographic problems.

    According to Putin, Russia's G8 presidency will continue to pursue the problems of the previous summits. "We cannot discard the problems of countries with developing economies and we cannot avoid talking about the fight against terrorism, but the main topic will be the energy problem," Putin said.

    "It was God's will to make the country the leader of the market for natural gas, oil, and nuclear energy, and to make this the main theme," Putin said. He said that St. Petersburg had been chosen to host the G8 summit because considerable work had been conducted to make the city ready for its tercentennial in 2003.

    Vladimir Putin said he was satisfied with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's work. "I do not believe that the premier has compromised himself in any way," the Russian president told journalists. "As for the criticism of the government, then it happens in any country. I do not particularly follow this. I can objectively assess what he is doing."

    Putin said Russia would increase oil and gas supplies to the world market. "We will increase supplies to the world market of energy raw materials and nuclear energy, while discussing this issue from the standpoint of [nuclear] nonproliferation, as the issue is very sensitive," the Russian president said. He added that it would concern everyone involved in international economic activity.

    The president said oil exports would soon increase from 200-230 million metric tons to 250-270 million metric tons. From 2010, natural gas deliveries to Western Europe would increase by 40 billion cubic meters, he added. "Now they [Russian oil companies] produce 470 million tons, with 200 [million] destined for export," Putin said.

    Russia plans to implement two major oil transportation projects, the Russian leader said. "We plan to implement two oil transportation projects. One of them is to transport oil to the Far East on to the Pacific coast," the president told reporters.

    According to the Russian leader, the first stage of the project will be launched this year. A total of 30 million metric tons will be transported to Skovorodino close to the Chinese border, with 20 million to be carried to China and 10 million to the Pacific coast by rail. The second stage will increase oil supplies to 50 million metric tons, Putin said.

    A statement made by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which unites five Eurasian countries and China, on the deployment of antiterrorist coalition forces on the territories of the organization's member states is not aimed against anyone, the Russian president said. "It was agreed that the contingents would be deployed there only during the antiterrorist operation. There is nothing unusual in our discussion of the issue in Astana [Kazakhstan] and the discussion was not aimed against anyone at all," the president said.

    Russia is ready to expand natural gas cooperation with Ukraine if it does not "nick" Russian natural gas, President Vladimir Putin said. He also said that Russia was planning to develop cooperation in the natural gas transit sphere with Belarus and Poland. "We are currently holding negotiations with the Norwegians," Putin said. "They have a good pipeline system, which will not be running to capacity with natural gas for ten years, and in this sense Norway is a very convenient partner for us."

    President Vladimir Putin said he would insist that the government looked for ways to double the country's GDP by 2010. "The calculations show we must ensure a growth rate of 7% to achieve the task. The growth rate in the last five years was 7.1%," Putin said.

    According to the Russian president, last year the government planned the economic growth rate to be 5.7% but in the end it totaled 7.2%. "As for the current year, it has not ended yet and we will see. We will consider the development of agricultural sector but I will insist that the government looks for ways to achieve the task [of doubling GDP]," Putin added.

    Vladimir Putin said that work, trust and intensive cooperation were needed to solve the territorial problem facing Russia and Japan.

    "If we want to resolve the territorial problem, or the problem of signing a peace treaty between Russia and Japan, we must work on it. In order to work we must meet and trust each other. And to be able to trust each other we must develop cooperation," President Putin said when asked whether the territorial problem had been an obstacle to reaching an agreement on the date of his visit to Japan.

    Putin warned against crackdowns in efforts to combat terrorism. "If we do this, we will offer terrorists a gift since they use the openness of democratic society to fight democracy," the Russian president concluded.

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