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Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin talk to his Ukrainian colleague Yevgeni Chervonenko
The cheerful mood keynoted the talks over in Moscow between Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin and his Ukrainian colleague Yevgeni Chervonenko, Minister of Transport and Communication. He has arrived to Moscow as the head of a representative delegation of sectoral managers. The two have discussed the entire spectrum of themes and questions of realization of the Russian-Ukrainian Convention on the Integration of the Two Countries' Transport Systems, signed last autumn. Appearing at the press briefing, Mr.Levitin said that Russia has no suchlike document concluded with another state. In turn, Mr.Chervonenko noted that constructive cooperation in the field of transport could set a good example for politicians in both the countries. Among the major Russian-Ukrainian transport projects is Crimea-Caucasus ferry crossing. All the normative law documents for it have been developed and coordinated. Tariffs for cargo ferrying are now becoming clear, Mr.Levitin added. The agreements between the two governments on the procedure and conditions of inland navigation, navigation in the Azov sea and the Kerch strait are being prepared. In this connection, the sides have confirmed their desire to increase the transit potential of Russia and Ukraine by shaping and developing the Big Water Transport Ring: Rhine-Main-Danube-Black-Azov seas basin-Don, Volgodon channel-Volga-Belomorbaltiiski channel-Neva-Baltic sea. Transport workers of the two countries are going to optimize and complement the existing transport technology schemes MTK North-South: Caspian sea-Volga-Volgodon channel-Azov sea-Black sea-further entry into inland waterways in South and Central Europe. For the ensurance of bilateral foreign trade turnover, reaching 16 billion rubles last year, cooperation between Ukrainian and Russian railway men is crucial, especially in export and transit cargo railage. They are going, particularly, to arrange movements of container-carrying trains in: China-Kazakhstan-Russia-Ukraine. For that, a feasibility study for downsizing tariffs is to be ready before March 15 this year. Implementation of the project of high-speed passenger railage Moscow-Kiev can be expected very soon. The sides have adjusted plans for capital investments and overhaul of the locomotive rolling stock. The procedure of customs clearance and passport control for passengers is being improved, for which a corresponding intergovernmental agreement will be prepared. Thanks to realization of these measures, the travel time between the two capitals will be cut from the present 12-13 to 9 hours. Positive shifts in cooperation in air and motor carriage have surfaced. The Ukrainian minister said that vast prospects are open for integrating the two transport engineering sectors. It is especially important and timely because, Mr.Levitin said, transport engineering may be affected more than other industrial sectors when the two countries join the World Trade Organization. Overall, it can be said that the present discussion of Russian-Ukrainian transport questions speaks, on one hand, of the extreme importance of such cooperation for the economics of the two countries and, on the other hand, of the continuity of priorities by the new government of Ukraine. Asked about his vision of the future common economic environment, Mr.Chervonenko said that they in Ukraine are closely studying the CEE doctrine and one can be sure that pragmatism and patriotism will be its cornerstone. The course of new leadership of Ukraine is one - pro-Ukrainian, instead of pro-American or pro-Russian, he added. Whatever conclusions may be drawn, the Ukrainian minister believes, "Ukraine is historically destined to live with Russia". "My Russian colleague and I are trying to move somewhat ahead in our cooperation, making mutual benefit our goal. I think that the presidents of our countries will not dismiss us for better performance of the transport sectors".
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