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Russia to donate $210 mln to poorest countries in 2007

Russia will allocate some $210 million under UN assistance programs to the world’s poorest countries in 2007, five times as much as in 2004, the country’s deputy finance minister said on Wednesday.

“Russian aid is gradually growing and, according to estimates, will reach some $210 million, excluding debt payments, in 2007,” Sergei Storchak said. Last year, as G-8 president, Russia committed itself to donating up to $600 million over the next four to five years to fight infectious diseases, poverty and illiteracy, Storchak said. “In favorable circumstances Russia should increase the average amount allocated for this to $500 million over the next four to five years,” the official said, adding that the country is evolving as a solid international donor, which corresponds to its economic potential and political ambitions.

The Third High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development was launched Tuesday at the UN headquarters in New York and will end later on Wednesday. The ministerial forum, involving all participants in the Financing for Development process, has the aim of assessing “the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development.”

Russia allocated a total of $40 million for the Millennium Development Goals in 2004. According to the UN Web site, “the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 - form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.” (