MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) – The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit opening in Sydney Saturday will see Russia announce plans to invest in the forum, and confirm its determination to host the 2012 summit, a Kremlin aide said Tuesday.
Sergei Prikhodko also said Russia would promote voluntary cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and a free trade zone as long-term goals for the APEC forum, which has gathered representatives of 21 regional economies, including Russia, in Australia this week.
September 8-9 sees the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, with the participating nations accounting for over half of the global economy.
Financial contribution, 2012 venue
Prikhodko said Russia planned to invest $500,000 voluntarily in the APEC Support Fund and to reiterate its willingness to host the 2012 business summit in Vladivostok, a port city in the Far East.
“We are determined to further promote our bid for the APEC presidency in 2012, which we first announced in Hanoi last year,” Prikhodko said referring to the Vietnamese capital, which hosted the summit in 2006.
He also said Russia’s bid was backed by its APEC partners, but it would only be confirmed once the venue for 2011, which the U.S. is claiming, has been formalized.
President Vladimir Putin’s aide said Russia would advocate voluntary cuts in carbon emissions as a way to prevent climate change, an issue that has been declared central to the summit’s agenda.
“Russia believes that any agreements on countering climate change in the post-Kyoto period [after 2012] must envisage voluntary obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take into account individual aspects of emitting nations,” Prikhodko said.
The Kremlin official accused Australia, Britain and Germany of politicizing this pressing issue and referred to the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Germany in June when the United States, a leading gas emitter, blocked Germany’s initiative to include emissions statistics into a final declaration.
Prikhodko said experts were working on a statement on climate change, but declined to say whether it would be adopted at the summit in Sydney.
Free trade zone
Asia-Pacific economies have been discussing formation of a regional free trade zone in the past few years but the majority of APEC nations have been reluctant to accept the idea. The current Doha round of the World Trade Organization talks on free trade has so far been stalled over agricultural subsidies.
Prikhodko also said Russia considered a free trade zone a long-term goal. “Russia shares the position of the majority of APEC members that it can only be viewed as a long-term target,” he said.
The Kremlin official said the first day of the summit would highlight climate change, energy security along with prospects for the Doha round of talks.
The second day, September 9, would be devoted to economic issues, including further economic integration and structural reforms in APEC economies.
Efforts to provide individual security will be discussed separately, including ways of combating terrorism, emergency relief operations, and health protection, Prikhodko said.