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10 Jul, 2008 01:23

Medvedev: World needs eco-friendly nuclear power

The oil and gas market will have a direct influence on food prices and climate change, and the increased use of nuclear energy may be a significant addition to existing sources of energy, said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after the G8 summit.

Rising food and fuel prices, as well as climate change, were the main focus of the three-day G8 summit in Japan. At the summit the G8 nations agreed to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

At the media briefing after the summit, Dmitry Medvedev said he believes the energy issue will remain the focus of the G8 member states for the next few years.

He added that the situation on the energy market develops much faster than new sources of energy appear and the number of traditional energy sources are insufficient.

The Russian leader considers co-operation in the field of nuclear energy to be very promising.

“Nuclear energy does not create a greenhouse effect and is environmentally pure, and we think there is potential for co-operation between countries. As for Russia, we are ready to contribute,” Medvedev said.

He also added that on the other side, according to some experts, biofuels create considerable problems on food markets. They also say about 75 per cent of the increase in food prices is caused by the change in food policy and the transfer of some food products to biofuel production.

Medvedev also said reports on the implementation of principles of the global energy security had been delivered at the summit.

“We can work on alternative ways of increasing energy efficiency, including new energy technology and energy saving models. Efficiency is important to Russia since it has large energy sources, and we will work to increase it to help solve the overall problems of greenhouse gases and global climate change,” he said.

Dmitry Medvedev praised the effectiveness of the summit and pledged Russia's support to combating world hunger.

“We spoke about the current state of the world economy where the sharp increase in food prices is most worrying. The most important thing is that the G8 countries are united in understanding that in order to stabilise the situation, complex measures are needed,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev said Russia’s long-term contribution will consist first and foremost in a considerable growth in production, not only domestically but also in supplies for the world market.

“The main problem now is the general lack of food. Our initiative of holding meetings of agriculture ministers and of holding a 'grain summit' has been approved,” he added.

Dmitry Medvedev also said that Russia supported the efforts of the world community to develop African economies.

“We considered additional measures to support stability in Africa and in other developing countries. Russia is ready to strengthen its participation and increase its aid to the African states,” said Medvedev.

At the summit G8 leaders adopted a joint statement saying their countries will meet commitments they made three years ago to boost aid to Africa. The statement follows criticism from international aid groups who say the G8 nations have made little progress toward meeting the goal set at the 2005 summit in Scotland, when they promised to rais aid to the continent by $US 25 billion per year by 2010.

Sayaka Funada Classen, Vice-President of the TICAD Civil Society Forum, said that global warming and the current food crisis, as well as soaring oil prices, are putting a great burden on the people’s lives in Africa. She thinks commitments should be increased rather than simply confirmed.

Sir Bob Geldof, a political activist, told RT has said there is the question of the relevance of the G8 as although the G8 countries had promised to increase the aid to Africa, they still haven’t done it. “When the rich break a promise to the poor, it kills them,” he said.

Leaders failed to fight off criticism from developing countries who accuse the G8 of not doing enough, and the sentiment was echoed in the international media.

The International Herald Tribune reported emissions cuts were agreed but without plans on how to achieve them.

Britain's Guardian focused on a united G8 condemnation of Zimbabwe but emphasised no concrete sanctions were agreed.

Internal divisions within the Group were the focus of France's ‘Le Figaro’ which said the leaders hid them behind a preoccupation with major global issues.

Russia's Kommersant brushed off any breakthroughs preferring to praise the hospitality of the summit's Japanese hosts.

To watch the full version of Dmitry Medvedev's speech on the results of the G8 summit in Japan, please follow the link