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Russia: G8 to focus on energy

April 18, 2006 at 9:42 AM

MOSCOW, April 18 (UPI) -- The Group of Eight nations meeting in St. Petersburg this summer will focus on energy and education issues, a top aide to President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

"Russia is the only country which has such huge hydrocarbon resources, on the one hand," said Igor Shuvalov, Putin's top aide on G8 issues. "On the other hand, it has a great important history of higher education, professional education, which exists now in the Russian Federation.

"These are, of course, Russia's pre-revolution traditions and higher education in the Soviet Union, and what we have now. We are showing that Russia, with its tradition of innovation, can and must convert its economy in the next few years from a raw-material one to one which will be based on knowledge."

The comments were reported by NTV.

Shuvalov said Russia would also pay special attention to nuclear energy.

This year's G8 summit comes against the backdrop of European fears over energy security, prompted, in part, by the pricing dispute between Russia's state-owned gas giant Gazprom and Ukraine and other former Soviet republics. The dispute with Ukraine led to the temporarily cutting off of supplies earlier this year, resulting in reduced flow to the rest of Europe.

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