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World Bank Chief Holds Moscow Talks on Economic Reforms - 2004-01-20

The head of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, is in Moscow for two days of talks focussing on the future direction of Russia's economic-reform program.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko says Russia still needs the World Bank's assistance very much, despite significant gains made in reforming Russia's economy in recent years.

Mr. Yakovenko said Russia looks to the World Bank to provide aid, and also show the way forward to a better economic future for its people through, what he called, shared experience and knowledge.

During his two-day stay in Moscow, Mr. Wolfensohn will meet with President Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. He is expected to urge the two men to move Russia's economy away from its dependence on exporting oil.

Prime Minister Kasyanov has characterized Russia's economic growth as strong. But he acknowledges that not all Russians are benefiting. And he has urged the new parliament to work harder to change that.