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City news, 03.03.2006 12:57

Energy security to dominate G8 summit in St. Petersburg - Putin

G8_summit Energy security will be a top priority at the July summit of the world's leading industrial nations in St. Petersburg, Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

Putin said in a television interview that Moscow had proposed three priority issues that would dominate Russia's 2006 presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) - energy security, infectious diseases and education.

"All our colleagues agree that the first issue - energy security - is the most essential," Putin said, adding that no progress whatsoever could be made without energy.

He also said that energy security not only concerned the energy needs of the world's developed industrial nations but all members of the international community.

Putin said over 2 billion people lacked access to the benefits of civilization because their countries suffered from energy shortages. Millions of people do not even have electricity, he said.

"Therefore, we talk about energy security as a problem facing humanity in general rather than just the most developed countries," Putin said.

He said Moscow's choice of priority G8 issues, including energy security, was based on Russia's ability to help solve them.

"I do not think anybody has doubts about Russia's present ability to help resolve this global problem," Putin said.

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