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Russia considers Bolivia as a prospective partner in Latin America
Russia considers Bolivia as a prospective partner in Latin America and Moscow hopes to expand bilateral ties with La Paz in the near future, a Kremlin source said on Saturday.

Bolivian President Evo Morales will pay a visit to Moscow on February 15-16 to sign a number of agreements with Russia, including in the energy and military-technical sectors.

"Moscow and La Paz share common views on a number of key global issues, and they are interested in building effective cooperation to face new threats and challenges, including drug-trafficking, illegal arms trade and transnational crime," the source said.

Both sides are also interested in expanding bilateral economic ties to increase and diversify trade, whose volume totaled a mere $5.5 million in 2008, the source added.

Russia's Gazprom, which is increasingly looking to the Latin American markets, and France's Total signed an agreement with Bolivia on the joint exploration and production of natural gas in the country in mid-September last year. Experts estimate investment to reach $4.5 billion.

Bolivia holds second place after Venezuela in terms of gas reserves in Latin America.

Bolivia's natural gas reserves are largely concentrated in the southeast of the country at four major deposits Margarita, San Alberto, Sabalo and Itau.

In May 2006, Morales signed a decree on nationalizing the country's gas industry.


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