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Russia is ‘preoccupied’ by eurozone crisis

Russia is “preoccupied” by the crisis in the eurozone and is watching events but remains optimistic for the future of the euro, President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday.

“We are of course preoccupied by this topic,” Medvedev said at a news conference during an EU-Russia summit held with EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

“As far as I can see,” he added, European nations have taken “sound reasonable and coordinated steps” to redress the situation and the euro has been proved ‘legitimate and valid”.

“We’re convinced the euro has good prospects,” he concluded.

Van Rompuy said at the conference that he will consider expanding a eurozone emergency bailout fund at a later date, while insisting the trillion-dollar facility was enough for now.

“There is no problem with the amount available in the facility and up to now there is no need to increase the means available for the facility,” Van Rompuy told journalists.

“For now on there is no problem at all. If needed we’ll consider it, but that is not a question today.”

Referring to the bailouts of Greece and Ireland, Medvedev said: “We look and watch closely what is going on.”

But he expressed confidence that measures taken so far “will yield good resuls and the situation will not be be detrimental to the world economic climate.”

At the summit, the European Union backed Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization in a “milestone” deal finally opening the door to Moscow’s accession in 2011 after 17 years of negotiations.

The last major world power still outside the global trade body, Russia cleared a crucial hurdle by finalising a deal with the world’s largest open trading block as Medvedev flew in for the summit.

“I’m very satisfied,” Medvedev said.

Following on a deal on the issue with the United States in October, the Russian leader said “after decades of negotiations this was our most successful year.”