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Saturday, April 15, 2006

My, my, Doesn't Little Volodya Look Annoyed?

Vladimir Vladimirovich (TM) is "shocked, shocked" to discover that America is annoyed with him after he provided U.S. secrets to Iraq and nuclear weapons to Iran. Just wait til he finds out what Santa has in store for his Christmas stocking! Just wait til he sees what is said about him during the G-8 summit in Piter! Just wait til Russian secrets and nuclear weapons start arriving in Chechnya! Then his head will surely explode.

MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president said Wednesday the United States is deliberately slowing down Russia's accession to the world's largest trade body.

"We have received a list of questions from our American colleagues that require additional agreements that we thought had been settled long ago," Putin told a meeting of top businessmen at the Kremlin. "The negotiations process is being artificially set back."

Under WTO regulations, Russia must sign bilateral agreements with all members of the 58-nation WTO Working Party established to monitor its accession. The United States is the most important country with which Russia has still to complete negotiations.

Putin said Russia remained interested in joining the WTO, but added: "We will take this step if it satisfies all participants in the process, and primarily Russia and the [Russian] economy."

Current Russia-U.S. negotiations are stalled over access to Russia's financial market. The economics ministry and banking officials have warned that Russia's banking system is unprepared to compete with foreign banks.

Maxim Medvedkov, Russia's top negotiator at the WTO talks, said last week that the foreign-interest ceiling would be raised to 50% from the current 25% if the U.S. stopped insisting that its banks and insurance companies have the right to open affiliates in Russia.

The Central Bank says non-residents now hold less than 4.5% in the country's insurance companies, and their stakes in Russian banks total 9%.

On March 20-28, another round of talks on Russia's potential WTO membership was held in Geneva, but Medvedkov said following the talks that the financial market access was not discussed with the U.S.

"However, the train is moving slowly but surely to its destination," he added.

Russia is also continuing negotiations with Australia and Columbia.

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