Kudrin Urges World to Cooperate on Finance

ST. PETERSBURG -- Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on Saturday called for better coordination between global financial institutions and said NATO should be consigned to history.

"Global institutions are reacting slowly to challenges, which exist today. ... But, of course, I don't mean such institutions as NATO. I think such institutions should become history," he told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Kudrin repeated earlier criticism made by President Dmitry Medvedev of international financial institutions, saying they needed major changes because they had failed to deliver in past crises.

Kudrin also said he was cautious about the idea of creating any cartel-like organization in the gas industry. "I'm very cautious when it comes to gas cartels. Cartels are not such institutions which can cut market risks," he said.

Iran, the second-largest holder of reserves, has called on Russia and other major gas producers to turn an informal gas countries club, known as the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, into a more formal body similar to the OPEC group.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was president at the time, described the proposal as an interesting idea. Government officials have since been cooler on the idea.

Kudrin said Saturday that OPEC was probably unable to lower the price of oil.

"Cartels are not the institutions to lower prices," he said.