Russia can step up efforts to help Yugoslavia

MOSCOW, November 26 (Itar-Tass) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said Russia should help Yugoslavia restore its economy destroyed as a result of the NATO aggression.

"In view of Russia's interests in Yugoslavia and the Balkans on the whole, we should not stay aside" from this process, Putin said at the first meeting of a government commission for the restoration of Yugoslavia on Friday.

Putin noted Russia's participation in the restoration process was not active enough. He suggested Russia should, first, consider the possibility of rendering independent aid to Yugoslavia, "including the supply of gasoline, fuel and lubricants, building materials and the Russian gas." In addition to that, "we should not stay away from the international community plans to render assistance to Yugoslavia," the prime minister stressed.

He believes Russia could notably intensify its independent aid to Yugoslavia since "many enterprises there were built with assistance from the Soviet Union."

"We cannot fail to bear this in mind," Putin went on to say. These enterprises "need to be repaired and completed with additional equipment. It is simply impossible for Russia to stand aside. We should also see what else we can do to restore Yugoslavia's infrastructure," the premier stressed.

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