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G-8 Group Finance Ministers Discuss Energy and Trade in Moscow


Finance ministers from the seven leading industrialized nations and Russia held a meeting Saturday in Moscow covering trade, energy security and other issues.

Energy security was the top item on the agenda at the meeting of finance ministers from some of the world's richest nations.

This was the first G-8 meeting hosted by Russia, which took over the chairmanship of the group January 1, and it provided an opportunity for Moscow to reassure other countries about its reliability as a supplier of gas and oil. Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine in a price dispute last month, and the cutoff affected many European countries.

The ministers also discussed trade and financial services, and the need to assist developing nations cope with high energy costs.

In a statement at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Moscow, the ministers called for progress in trade liberalization.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin had asked U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow for quick completion of talks aimed at allowing Moscow to join the World Trade Organization.

Mr. Putin says he hopes the negotiations wrap up as soon as possible.

Mr. Snow replied that the United States and Russia are "very close" to a deal with just a few issues to be dealt with, such as intellectual property rights and taxes on airplane imports.

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