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17 Jun, 2008 07:31

Blair praises 'strong' Russian leadership

Leading figures from the world of politics, including Tony Blair and Henry Kissinger, are in Moscow this week to speak at the city’s Renaissance Capital Investor Conference.

The former British Prime Minister and the former U.S. Secretary of State are joined by top managers from large international corporations and members of the Russian government.

Mr Blair and Mr Kissinger have talked about the conflict Russia is facing – in essence, the conflict between being an open or a closed economy.

“World economies must be open to be successful, Western countries must enter into strategic partnership with eastern ones,” Tony Blair said at the conference.

According to Mr. Blair, the main global problem is high oil prices and energy security. This causes a problem of soaring food prices. So western countries are calling for the launch of protectionist policies.

Power is shifting to the East – including also the Middle East and Russia, he admitted.

Mr. Blair noted that Russia now has a strong political leader and greater openness towards the global world.

Meanwhile another leading politician on the bill, Russia’s finance minister Alexey Kudrin, has told RT there will be more tax cuts for oil and gas companies in Russia – in order to boost their production.

He voiced an economic forecast for the year as saying it would be difficult not to exceed the annual inflation plan of 10.5%. He has said the state expenses will not surpass 18% of the GDP.

Roland Nash, a head of research at Renaissance Capital, has told RT that the fact the Finance Ministry aims to cut both taxes and government expenditure “is very encouraging”.

The oil and gas sector is also on the agenda at the conference.

Robert Dudley, the CEO of TNK-BP, the Russo-British oil company currently split by a shareholders’ dispute, is to speak later at the conference.