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Russia to pay $45-50 mln in 2006 for world development programs

ST. PETERSBURG, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia intends to contribute $45-50 million to international financial organizations in 2006 for development programs, the finance minister said Friday.

Alexei Kudrin said, "This level of involvement will be sustained during the coming years and increased."

In particular, Russia intends to allocate $44.7 mln for containing bird flu, of which $3 mln will soon be paid to the World Bank for its program.

In addition, $7.2 mln will be allocated to the Education for All program, of which $1 mln will soon be transferred, Kudrin said.

From 1997 to 2004, Russia contributed around $5 billion in debt relief to poor countries.

As a World Bank shareholder, Russia sits on the bank's board of governors and contributes to its development goals, and is increasing its contributions to the bank, the minister said.

"The World Bank is one of the leading world donors in terms of supporting development efforts," Kudrin said.

The finance minister will hold bilateral talks Friday with his G8 counterparts and the head of the World Bank ahead of a G8 finance ministers' meeting slated for Saturday

Russia this year holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Eight club of leading industrialized nations - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States - and will host the annual G8 summit for the first time in mid-July in St. Petersburg.

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