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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Calls for New Global Ties

STRELNA, Leningrad Region -- As the Group of Eight summit wrapped up Monday, President Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of China and India and spoke of the need for a new "architecture" of international relations.

"After the collapse of the bipolar world, our world has not become safer," Putin said at a news conference, his fourth during the three-day summit. "On the contrary, it has become less predictable.

"Since the entire system of international relations had been worked out in previous decades to serve a bipolar world, we do not have the tools instruments to address the challenges of today," he said. "And, therefore, here we are developing the architecture for future international relations."

Meeting later in the afternoon with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said: "Our approaches to key international problems are very close or, as the diplomats say, they practically coincide."

Singh said the three nations needed to coordinate their positions in confronting threats. He also pointed out that the three had considerable unused potential for economic cooperation.

Throughout the summit, Putin strived to show that Russia was taking a prominent role in the Middle East.

Putin acknowledged that he and the other G8 leaders had intended to talk about various foreign policy issues, including Iraq, but the escalating violence in the Middle East had thwarted the initial agenda.

"Tragic events in Israel and Lebanon overshadowed all other issues, and we were forced to react quickly to them," Putin said.

Putin on Monday shed some light on why the Russian side was refusing to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty, a document governing energy investment and transit issues in Europe, saying Russia did not see what it could get from Europe in return for access to its vast energy market.

"The Energy Charter envisages mutual access to production and transport infrastructure. Of course we can allow our partners into both types of infrastructure, but then we have to ask the question: Where will they admit us? Where's the extraction or transport infrastructure?" Putin said.

"We have trunk pipelines, which our partners simply don't have. We're not against working on these principles, but we need to understand what were going to get in exchange," he said.

Putin also said he saw nothing wrong with U.S. President George W. Bush meeting leaders from nongovernmental organizations Friday or with foreign diplomats attending the opposition's "The Other Russia" summit in Moscow last week.

"I met with representatives of NGOs as well. I did that in Moscow, he [Bush] did that in St. Petersburg," Putin said. "The more we work with civil society, the better."

The president said he saw nothing inappropriate with foreign diplomats backing the opposition rather than his government. "This is yet another evidence that democratic processes are developing normally and the opposition functions. And, as the opposition should do, it scolds the authorities -- and there are things to be scolded for," he said.

The July 11-12 "The Other Russia" summit received no coverage on any of the main three television channels, which are all state-controlled. Russia's G8 envoy warned before the summit opened that the Kremlin would consider the participation of foreign diplomats in the rival summit an unfriendly gesture.

Turning to relations with Bush, Putin said they shared similar viewpoints on many issues and any disagreements were the result of the inability and unwillingness of "certain people and structures" to look beyond the Cold War.

• Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva focused on trade, telling G8 leaders that the stalled Doha Round of trade talks is a "political crisis" that he blamed on a lack of leadership, The Associated Press reported.

• South African President Thabo Mbeki and leaders of the African Union spoke of the lack of access to education on the continent, particularly for girls and young women.

• Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose nation will host the 2007 summit, said she saw no reason to expand the G8 to include members with burgeoning economies. She said poverty -- a topic some nongovernmental agencies complained was inadequately addressed in St. Petersburg -- would be at the top of the agenda in Heiligendamm in 2007.