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Morning re-cap of main news, June 16

* Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he expected an answer from Iran on starting talks to resolve the crisis around its nuclear program in the near future

* Russia's lower house of parliament passed in first reading a draft law on granting Gazprom or a 100% subsidiary exclusive rights to exports of Russian gas

* Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Almaty for a summit dedicated to boosting trust in Asia

* President Vladimir Putin said Russia could sign a bilateral agreement on WTO accession with the U.S. ahead of the July 15-17 G8 summit in St. Petersburg

* Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said:

- proposals drafted by six nations in a bid to solve the crisis around the country's nuclear program were a step forward, and that Iran would give its answer to the proposals in due course

- Iran was not trying to create nuclear weapons and would prefer dialogue over its nuclear program rather than increased tension

- Iran was not afraid of a possible attack by Israel on its nuclear facilities

- he was happy with the results of his visit to China for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

* Prosecutors said that the term of an investigation into the 2004 Beslan school siege had been extended until January 1, 2007

* Rostelecom, Russia's largest long-distance telecom services provider, said it had been served with a claim for taxes worth 3.474 billion rubles ($128.5 million) dating back to 2003

* Oil production in Russia in January-April 2006 rose 2.2% year-on-year to 155.6 million metric tons (9.5 million bbl/d) and exports fell 0.3% to 81.2 million tons (5 million bbl/d), the country's top statistics body said

* Russia's federal budget surplus in 2007 is expected to reach 1.35 trillion rubles ($50 billion), according to a Finance Ministry draft plan for 2007-2009 approved by the government

* Russia's Stabilization Fund, set up to harvest windfall oil revenues, will receive 1.55 trillion rubles ($57.3 bln) in 2007, according to a report on a draft 2007 budget approved Friday at a government commission session

* A bloc led by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko turned down a proposal to create a parliamentary coalition with the pro-Russian party of Regions, leaving the parliament's future in the balance

* The political council of pro-presidential bloc Our Ukraine has given no consent to coalition talks with the pro-Russian Party of Regions, a bloc spokesperson said

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