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By John Helmer, Moscow

After the report appearing yesterday on Rusal’s negotiations with the Government of Guinea was published, the following fresh information was communicated by a member of staff of President Alpha Conde, and confirmed by other Guinean sources.

When the Russian delegation, led by Minister of Natural Resources Yury Trutnev, arrived at the presidential office in Conakry on April 6, Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of Rusal, was one of its members. President Conde then ordered that Deripaska would not be allowed at the meeting between the two delegations, and Deripaska was requested to remain outside.

Trutnev’s office in Moscow was asked to clarify the details. The Ministry of Natural Resources had confirmed in a brief announcement on April 6 that the meeting between Trutnev and Conde had taken place, and that meetings with other Guinean officials had also occurred as part of the Intergovernmental Russian-Guinean Commission for Economic, Scientific, Technical and Commercial Cooperation. “On the Russian side,” according to the ministry’s communiqué, “the talks will be attended by representatives of the [Natural Resources] Ministry of Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry and the business community.” Trutnev’s spokesman has not replied to a request to confirm whether the presidential meeting had proceeded without Deripaska, on the Guinean request.

Rusal has publicly confirmed that Deripaska was in the Trutnev delegation and that a meeting between the Russian delegation and Conde took place. But the company refuses to answer all questions on its communications with Guinean officials. The Rusal press release, dated April 6, says it “reports on the visit of RUSAL top management to Guinea as part of the official visit of the Russian government delegation in the country. During the visit, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Yuri Trutnev met with the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde, and other Government officials.” The release also quotes from Deripaska that “RUSAL enjoys constant open dialogue with representatives of the government of the Republic.”

To check the report from Conakry that Deripaska had been excluded on Conde’s instruction, Schillings, Rusal’s law firm in London, was asked to say if “Mr Deripaska accompanied the delegation and its leader, Mr Yury Trutnev, Minister of Natural Resources, to the meeting with President Conde which is recorded as having taken place on April 6 by the Guinean and Russian sides and by Rusal; [and whether] Mr Deripaska was requested to leave the meeting-room by the Guinean President, and the meeting proceeded after Mr Deripaska left.”

The lawyers were also asked to acknowledge receipt of the confirmation request. They did not reply.

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