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Putin says: Russian companies invested $140 billion globally by 2006

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russian companies invested $140 billion globally up to 2006, and called on Russian and foreign firms working abroad to practice social responsibility.

Speaking on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in Heiligendamm, Germany, Putin said: „Russian companies are working more and more on global markets. As of 2006, they invested about $140 billion around the world.” But the president noted that in Africa foreign companies faced a variety of security dangers, referring to the abduction of six Russian aluminum plant workers in Nigeria earlier this week. He said local populations should see foreign firms as a means of helping them tackle problems, rather than simply as enterprises pursuing their own narrow interests. „All companies, not only Russian ones, should behave in a socially responsible way in the countries where they work. Such incidents would decrease if this were the case,” Putin said.

The club of wealthy nations traditionally discusses conditions for sustainable economic growth around the world. Global responsibility, climate change, and African development are focuses of the G8 summit's agenda this year. However, the lead-up to the summit, being held at a luxury resort on the Baltic cost, was overshadowed by tensions between Russia and the United States over US missile shield plans in Europe, which Moscow is treating as a security threat. At a news conference earlier in the day, US President George W. Bush moved to calm the situation, insisting that his country does not view Russia as a threat, and that the missile shield is not an issue to be „hyperventilating about.”

Washington says interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic would counter attacks from Iran and North Korea. Moscow has dismissed the argument as unconvincing and threatened to aim its nuclear weapons at Europe. Putin and US President George W. Bush are expected to discuss the issue at a bilateral meeting Thursday. On the climate change issue, the US resisted proposals from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the G8 summit's host, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050. But Reuters reported, citing a EU source, that the world leaders had agreed to pursue ‘substantial’ cuts in emissions and integrate US climate plans into United Nations programs.

„They agreed on the need for substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” the source told the agency. A source in the Russian delegation said Putin urged joint measures to fight global warming after 2012, when the Kyoto protocol expires. (rian.ru)