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Russia Mulling Membership in OPEC

TEHRAN (FNA), September 27, 2008

Russia is seeking to forge closer ties with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and has invited the cartel's members to a meeting in Moscow next month, Iran's OPEC Governor said.

Mohammad Ali Khatibi told FNA that the meeting in Russia is scheduled for a date prior to OPEC's official meeting in Algeria.

"Based on what I know, Russia has invited OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri and a team from the organization's Secretariat to participate in the meeting, but I am not even sure that all OPEC members will get invited," Khatibi said.

The Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Sechin, who attended the OPEC summit on September ninth as an observer, said at the time that Russia had submitted a 'draft Memorandum of Understanding' to OPEC concerning closer cooperation.

"As far as OPEC is concerned, we are willing to review this Memorandum of Understanding. We will try to see how we can cooperate through this MoU," al-Badri said.

As one the world's leading producers of oil, Russia has many interests in common with the OPEC. The country's oil income is affected when the price of oil goes up or down, the Governor continued.

One of the reasons Russia seeks closer ties with OPEC at this time is recent global political change. Moscow's relations with the West have strained following the conflict between the West-backed Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia.

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