Russia might contribute to debt relief efforts

Updated: 2011-12-15 09:58


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BRUSSELS - Russia might be willing to contribute up to 10 billion euros ($13 billion) to the eurozone's bailout fund, a European Union (EU) official said on Wednesday.

"Eurozone assistance will certainly be on the agenda, it will be discussed" at the EU-Russia summit on Thursday, said the EU official on condition of anonymity.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Brussels on Wednesday evening for the meeting.

"Russia holds approximately 40 percent of its reserves in the euro and therefore is interested in developing the eurozone," the above-mentioned EU official said.

"Russia has already indicated that it might be willing to contribute up to 10 billion euros to the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility)," he said. "This is the basis on which I believe there will be further, more concrete discussion tonight and tomorrow."

Meanwhile, the EU trade and foreign ministers adopted a decision approving Russia's WTO accession on Wednesday in Geneva, which is due to be formally approved at the WTO ministerial conference the following day.

"Russian WTO accession is a major achievement opening new opportunities for trade and the development of bilateral relations, " said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. "It should also give new momentum to the negotiations on a new and comprehensive EU-Russia Agreement."

High on the agenda of the summit meeting is discussion between the two sides on steps to facilitate visa-free short-term travel for their citizens.