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Putin Says International Deal On Oil Output Cap Is Close

President Vladimir Putin says Russia says it is close to an agreement with OPEC countries to cap oil production, and that a final decision will be made at a meeting this month.

Putin was addressing oil executives on March 1, after Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Qatar announced last month a preliminary deal to freeze output at January levels with the aim of boosting oil prices, provided that other major producers followed suit.

Iran, which has the world's second-largest crude reserves, has so far resisted.

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak was quoted as saying that the deal mentioned by Putin was agreed to by 15 nations accounting for 73 percent of global production.

"It's a critical mass of those countries who could reach a deal," Novak said. "Even without Iran, a deal will be effective."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and TASS