AFP - Sunday, May 10

090513-Lagarde RIYADH (AFP) - - French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said Saturday that it would be good if oil prices settled at between 70 and 80 dollars a barrel.

"We want less volatility, more predictability," Lagarde said ahead of talks on Sunday with oil giant Saudi Arabia's petroleum minister Ali Naimi.

"Most people would agree that anywhere between 70 and 80 dollars would be good," she said.

Lagarde was on a 24 hour visit to the Saudi capital for discussions on a range of bilateral economic issues, including promoting France's high-speed rail expertise for the multi-billion-dollar Mecca-Medina rail project, and fashioning cooperation on nuclear power technology.

Lagarde said that Saudi King Abdullah and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had earlier agreed to seek mechanisms to stabilize oil prices, after last year's climb to nearly 150 dollars a barrel and subsequent plunge to just 30 dollars.

However, she said, the possible mechanisms for that still need to be explored.

Oil prices topped 58 dollars a barrel in New York trading Friday, the highest since mid-November.

Lagarde, who will meet King Abdullah and other top economic officials Sunday, said she will also encourage Saudi Arabia to follow up on its pledge to contribute to the expanded capital of the IMF.

This follows the G20 agreement in London at the beginning of April to triple the IMF's funds to 750 billion dollars.

"We all have to contribute more," she said, noting that most of the G20 members had yet to confirm their contributions.

"In London all of us, including the Saudis, signed a commitment, so we have to deliver."

Lagarde said she would also discuss with her Saudi counterparts updating the French-Saudi tax treaty to address issues that had arisen since the treaty was first signed some 20 years ago.

From Yahoo! News; see the source article here.

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