'Ours naturally!'

Published: Friday 15 April 2005

Sidelining widespread complaints, Russia's natural resources minister Yurii Trutnev has supported his government's move to ban the access of foreign companies to the country's mineral resources. Trutnev's ministry had recently proposed a draft amendment to the natural resources law. It included a ban on foreign companies from participating in tenders for exploiting the country's major mineral deposits.

"Russia has the full authority to introduce a restriction for non-resident [business] rights, as it does not violate European law," Trutnev reportedly said while speaking at a Federation Council hearing on the amendment. He said the countries that were accusing Russia of violating their rights themselves followed similar laws. Trutnev's deputy, Anatolii Temkin, also told the Council that the amended law will carry a provision to replace the system of issuing licenses for mineral exploration with a contract system.

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