Medvedev says he wants Russian WTO entry this year

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that Russia should join the WTO this year, snapping at delays in the country's accession to the global trade body.

"I think it is realistic to finish work already this year, unless of course political games begin again," Medvedev said regarding Russia's continuously delayed accession to the World Trade Organization.

Moscow has long complained that it had to negotiate longer than any other country and said the process is unnecessarily politicised by some states.

"We are long ready to join, more so than other countries...but they are trying to get an inappropriately large amount of concessions out of us," Medvedev said during his keynote speech at the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, an annual event he has strived to make a high-profile investment showcase.

"This approach is unacceptable, and Russia will not go with decisions that are clearly disadvantageous," said the Russian leader after admitting however that Russia will "fall" without an open economy as if lacking a parachute.

After making innovation and weaning the country away from reliance on fossil fuel one of the key goals of his presidency, Medvedev has launched a number of initiatives to modernise Russia's economy, one of key goals of his presidency.

Later on Friday Russia was to unveil a $10-billion (7.0-billion-euro) sovereign fund in partnership with private equity firms.

© 2011 AFP

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