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Russia is interested in stronger ties with Thailand
Russia is interested in stronger ties with Thailand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said upon his arrival in Thailand for an official visit. According to the minister, Thailand is Russia's "oldest partner in Southeast Asia and ranks first in the region in the volume of bilateral trade (this year, the turnover will exceed $1 billion). We are interested in fostering our ties." According to the minister, "the visit is designed to promote comprehensively the traditionally friendly Russian-Thai relations and dynamic development of mutually advantageous co-operation." The Russian foreign minister noted that Thailand was one of the leading ASEAN participants. During his visit, Mr. Lavrov intends to sign an agreement on co-operation in education, and also consider a series of regional agreements that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Thai prime minister achieved during their meeting in November 2004 in Santiago. The agreements refer to the development of economic and other co-operation, along with intensive development of relations with Thailand. Another important issue under discussion will be the involvement of Russian companies in the regional projects carried out in the fuel and energy sector, and the transport infrastructure in Thailand. Thai investors are also interested in various projects in Russia's Far East. According to the Russian side, there are real prerequisites for expanding scientific and technological co-operation, in particular, in such areas as information, space, bio- and nano-technologies, genetics, alternative energy sources and other areas. Moreover, Lavrov continued, "it is important for Russia to maintain, enrich and promote the dialogue with Bangkok in developing regional co-operation." Such co-operation is carried out within APEC and within a dialogue with ASEAN that is to be raised to a higher level. At the ASEAN summit in Laos, leaders of participating nations agreed to hold Russia - ASEAN summit in Malaysia next autumn and invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend it.
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