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Evans Says He Won’t Join Russian Company

December 19, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Former Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, a close friend of President Bush, said Monday he will not accept the offer of a top job at Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft.

Evans said he had decided against pursuing the offer because he could not commit to the time required to do the job correctly.

Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the possibility of a top job with Rosneft during a meeting with Evans two weeks ago in Moscow.

Evans said he had relayed his decision by telephone and e-mail message on Monday. He said his current business commitments plus his family commitments _ he has a 16-year-old son in high school _ would not enable him to take the post.

``I knew that to do this right would require a substantial part of my time and I just wasn’t in a position to offer that,″ Evans said in an interview with a small group of reporters.

The Wall Street Journal in an editorial on Monday urged Evans not to take the post, saying Putin’s government wanted to hire Evans as a way of gaining influence with the administration and papering over questionable government actions involving the Russian oil industry.

``You can bet that Mr. Putin figures that in hiring Mr. Evans he would be buying more than just the American’s energy expertise,″ the Journal editorial said.

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