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Russia: G-7 Ministers Praise Reform Progress

Washington, 30 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-7 group of major industrial nations have praised Russia for its "significant progress" in economic reforms. They said Moscow should increase its use of World Bank experts in pushing ahead with structural reforms.

The G-7 ministers -- from the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy and Canada -- met in Washington over the weekend before this week's annual meetings of the Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

During part of their day-long session Saturday, Russia's new economic team joined the discussions. The team included First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Potanin, Finance Minister Alexander Livshits, and Central Bank Governor Sergie Dubinin.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who hosted the session, told reporters afterward that he left the meeetings "with a very good feeling" about the commitment of the new Russian economic team to "carrying forward with macroeconomic reform and structural reform."

The G-7 ministers praised Russia for the "substantial accomplishments" achieved so far this year "in a situation that was obviously made more difficult by the fact that an election was going on."

Rubin said the G-7 ministers also support a so-called equity distribution of SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, the IMF's internal currency, to countries that have joined the fund in recent years. That includes Russia and most of the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

However, he said, there are still serious questions over the size of that allocation. IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus has proposed that it be large enough to give all members of the fund the same proportion of SDRs to their quota sizes, but the richer nations have been balking at giving that much.