Schroeder, Putin talk business - but not Yukos

8th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 July 2004 , MOSCOW - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to expand business and economic ties between their countries - but did not discuss the insolvency- threatened Russian oil giant Yukos in talks in Moscow on Thursday. Schroeder arrived in the Russian capital for a one-day visit earlier in the day, accompanied by chief executives of such blue-chip companies as Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Ruhrgas and Lufthansa. The chancellor also praised Putin's ec

8 July 2004

MOSCOW - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to expand business and economic ties between their countries - but did not discuss the insolvency- threatened Russian oil giant Yukos in talks in Moscow on Thursday.

Schroeder arrived in the Russian capital for a one-day visit earlier in the day, accompanied by chief executives of such blue-chip companies as Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Ruhrgas and Lufthansa.

The chancellor also praised Putin's economic policy in a speech in front of some 800 students at a financial academy in Moscow and said the Kreml chief's reforms had "rebuilt the confidence of foreign investors in Russia".

His comments came one day after the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had branded Russia over pushing Yukos to the point of bankruptcy by pursuing tax claims of more than 3.4 billion United States dollars in a court case.

"It is clearly a case of highly selective law enforcement," the OECD had described the case in a report on Russia's current economic situation, criticizing "arbitrary exercise of state power" as a major threat to Russian economic development.

The German government said earlier Schroeder himself would not broach the controversial case but that business leaders with him were expected to ask Putin questions of transparency and legal issues in the Yukos case in a meeting later on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Schroeder and Putin welcomed joint plans by Russian company Gazprom and German e.on to build a pipeline through the Baltic Sea and develop Russia's gas exploration.

Schroeder said further fields of cooperation between the two countries would be aerospace, car manufacturing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals as well as financial services.

Last year, Germany was Russia's main foreign trade partner with a total turnover of EUR 25.5 billion.

German food retailer Rewe also announced in Moscow Thursday that it plans to build a chain of stores, totalling an investment of EUR 400 million in the next few years.

DPA

Subject: German news

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