30 Aug 2010 16:55

Putin to focus on Norilsk city problems instead of shareholders

AMUR HIGHWAY. Aug 30 (Interfax) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he would not engage in the conflict between Norilsk Nickel shareholders but will concentrate on city problems during the visit to Norilsk.

"I am not going to investigate who is right and who is wrong, who must be preferred and who must be infringed. It is necessary to work together and to resolve problems of the plant and the city. The plant must provide accommodation to its employees and think where the workers will live after their work is over," Putin told reporters at dinner on the Amur highway.

"The plant is operating smoothly. It is working well, but we must also think about the future," he said.

Asked about his attitude to the dispute of Norilsk Nickel shareholders, Putin said, "I do not care which particular shareholder has the controlling stake or how the stakes are divided. The most important thing is that they must solve the plant's problems. If they don't, then we will do something," he said.

Reporters remarked that the shareholders must know Putin's position. "They already know it," Putin replied.

Asked whether the shareholders might meet with Putin in Norilsk, the premier said, "I don't know. I only know that there is a bunch of problems and they are interested in our support. They need a license to obtain raw materials, they also need to resolve housing problems because people live in very difficult conditions and must be resettled. Ecology is a no less important problem," he said.

Putin also said that it was necessary to modernize the plant.