President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear colleagues.
The Security Council has adopted a resolution on Iranian nuclear program. Could you please comment on it?
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: The Security Council worked on the resolution for several months. This is not a simple issue. We were convinced of the need to find a proper balance between the three following goals – first, to prevent the violation of nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime; second, to ensure continuing talks with Iran on its nuclear program; and third, not to jeopardize legitimate contacts with Iran in other spheres.
The resolution is a compromise, but all the three goals have been achieved. The resolution shuts down the channels feeding those aspects of the Iranian nuclear program which are a source of the IAEA’s concern (we have always relied on this professional agency). The resolution contains at the same time a strong appeal to Iran to suspend its program until the IAEA’s concerns are removed. In this case, the measures which will shut down the afore-mentioned channels will be suspended as well, and talks can begin. Iran is open for full-scale cooperation in legitimate spheres outside the ban – trade and economy, for example. Thus, the resolution fully takes into account economic interests of Russia and other partners of Iran.
Vladimir Putin: What about the contracts, which were signed before the resolution was adopted?
Sergei Lavrov: The resolution states clearly that all contracts concluded by the time of its adoption remain valid and can be implemented.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
We are now summing up the results achieved in different spheres, and looking at various figures. One of these shows the level of capitalization in the financial sector. What has happened there during this year?
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin: The financial system has set a record in increasing its capital, level of capitalization, and financial assets in 2006. As for capitalization, the stock has grown by 224 billion rubles in one year. Bank assets have gone up by 3.6 trillion rubles and reached 13.4 trillion rubles, registering a 37% annual growth. We achieved such growth rates in bank assets before (on two occasions – in the past year and three years ago), but this is an absolute record in absolute increment. This means that our banking system is growing faster than that in any other country.
In effect, this is the revival and recovery of the nation’s entire banking and financial system. This has been immediately reflected in the growth of loans to the population, and the real economy sector. The former have increased by more than 50%, the latter by over 25%. Accordingly, this adds to the share of investment in the overall turnover, the share of the financial sector in the overall investment. This is due to financing and investment. The share of these sources is on the upsurge.
Vladimir Putin: What could you say about Sberbank and Vneshtorgbank?
Alexei Kudrin: In accordance with the government’s decision, the supervisory boards of both banks have endorsed a decision on emission placements. Tentatively, these issues will be floated in the first half of the next year. Of course, the final decision will be made with due account of the market, its predictability and profitability for these securities. These decisions are already being prepared.
Vladimir Putin: Last time we spoke about the need to establish mechanisms, which would allow Russian citizens to purchase the securities. I’d like to draw your attention to the need to provide timely and full information for the people. Otherwise, they will not be able to make use of these mechanisms, even if they are technologically correct.
Alexei Kudrin: We will ensure that the people will be able to take advantage of these opportunities – both for Sberbank and Vneshtorgbank.