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24 Jan, 2008 18:28

Russia is an 'island of stability`: Finance Minister

Fears of a global recession dominated talks on the second day of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Delegates are considering ways of responding to the threat. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin spoke on Russia's new investment fund that is to be

In the opening speech to this year’s event, the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reassured the international community that the U.S. long-term economic fundamentals are healthy.

“The U.S. continues to welcome foreign investment and free trade, and the U.S. economy will remain a leading engine of global economic growth,” Rice said.

But the most heated discussion focused on emerging markets such as China, India and Russia and their potential to drive global growth.

Russia's Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin said Russia is an “island of stability” in an ocean of financial turmoil.

“In the past few years Russia has managed to achieve economic stability, stocking up substantial international reserves which act as a buffer. I believe Russia will soon be the focus of attention as an island of stability,” Kudrin said.

So it seems that unlike in the 1990s, when it was considered to be the centre of instability, Russia is looking more and more like a safe haven.

“I think, unless there is a really bad crisis, which will lead to a drop in oil and gas prices, Russia is secure from the negative effects of a world global economic crisis,” Andrey Kostin, Vneshtorgbank CEO, said.

The fight against terrorism and climate change were also on the agenda on the second day of the forum.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the world to focus on the issue of world water supplies and to take steps to prevent related conflicts.

Also, the Ukrainian President shared his views on the country's economic situation and its trade ties with Russia.

The Russian participants have prepared some fun for Thursday. Towards the end of the day there is going to be a huge ice show.  It's being opened by top skaters Tatyana Navka, Roman Kostomarov and Evgeny Plushenko. Delegates will be invited to join the fun later, including government ministers, business leaders and bankers.