Paris: Russia has completed the key stage in the process of joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
   
On Friday, First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov handed over to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria the act of Russia's accession to the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in concluding international commercial transactions.
   
Denisov said that preparations for signing the document had taken three years and required joint efforts by specialists of many agencies and the involvement of legislators.
   
"When it was considered in the State Duma and the Federation Council, the Convention received full approval from the legislators of all factions," Denisov said. "By joining the convention we, in fact, have negotiated the key stage on the way into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development."
   
"We hope to be through with the process of Russia's accession to the OECD in 2013," Denisov said. He recalled that preparations for Russia's accession to that elite club of developed economies, currently uniting three dozen countries, began in the 1990s. The process has taken so long, the diplomat said, because the organization has more than 150 mandatory regulatory documents."
   
The OECD Convention on Combating the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials was signed in 1997 and entered into force in February 1999. Its participants pledge to upset attempts at bribing foreign public officials in concluding agreements and contracts and must establish criminal punishment for such actions, thereby promoting a favorable investment climate.
   
"This is not a time-serving step. Russia has joined the convention consciously. This is in full conformity with the policy of our country's leadership to fight with corruption," Denisov said.
   
The accession act handover ceremony drew much attention inside the OECD. Taking part in the meetings with the Russian delegation, which alongside Denisov also included Russia's
First Justice Minister Alexander Fyodorov, were the ambassadors of all OECD countries.
   
The Western economies are interested in having as much information as possible about the business climate in Russia, which is steadily rising in the investor rankings, a senior European expert said. He is certain that the parties will be able to derive tangible economic benefits from expanding cooperation.
   
"The contacts between Russia and the OECD grew much more active of late," the chief Russian delegate said. In January representatives from the Nuclear Energy Agency visited the Russian Federation and studied the country's potential in the field of civilian nuclear power. A decision was made on Russia's admission to the NEA in May.
   
Accession to the OECD in 2013 will surely become a landmark event. That year Russia will take the rotating presidency of the G20.
   
"We hope for the OECD's cooperation in preparations for the forthcoming G20 summit. Work along these lines is already in progress," Denisov said.

(Agencies)