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The leaders of Russia and the United Kingdom will meet three more times this yea
The leaders of Russia and the United Kingdom will meet three more times this year, a Kremlin source told RIA Novosti in the run-up for a Putin-Blair working meeting in Moscow later today. This year of the U.K. presidency in G8 and EU and Russia's preparation for G8 presidency next year has another three Russian-British summits on schedule: Gleneagles in July, the Millennium+5 Summit in New York in September, and Putin's working visit to London in the context of the Russia-EU summit in early October, the source said. The last time Putin and Blair met was at the Sea Island G8 Summit on June 8-10, 2004. "On June 13 the leaders will discuss bilateral cooperation, Russian-British interaction within various international frameworks, and current issues of world politics," he said. "Our countries maintain intensive political dialog that shapes the whole of the Russian-British interaction," the source said. He said both countries proactively cooperated in foreign policy, counterterrorism (joint working group created on Putin and Blair's initiative), and defense (delegations, warship visits, British assistance in retraining discharged Russian officers). On May 8-10, the source said, Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth II, came to the key northern Russian seaport of Murmansk together with a delegation of 300 British veterans of Arctic convoys to celebrate V-E. The Arctic convoy route was one of few arteries of Allied supplies to the Soviet Union during WWII. "National law-enforcement agencies expand their cooperation, jointly fighting organized crime, economic crime and drug traffic," the source noted. Great Britain helps destroy Russian chemical weapons. A CW-disposal facility is constructed in Shchuchye, the Kurgan region, with British assistance. They are building a water-supply system and power-transmission network there. The Kremlin notes expanded Russia-UK trade-and-investment interaction. "The 2004 trade turnover was $9.27 billion, soaring by 43.7 percent on 2003 levels. Russian imports skyrocketed by 59.2 % to reach $6.58 billion. Imports rose by 16.1 %, totaling $2.69 billion. The trade turnover has also increased in early 2005," the source added. Great Britain ranks fifth in terms of accumulated investment volumes after the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Germany. Such investment stood at $8.67 billion in late 2004. Energy cooperation has future in it. "British companies would like to build the North European gas pipeline. Russian oil accounts for 25 % of BP output and profits," the Kremlin source noted. "Expanded Russia-UK international interaction is a key aspect of Russia's foreign policy," he said. "Great Britain is our strategic partner in the UN Security Council, the G-8 and European-cooperation institutions. It helps enhance Russia's interaction with NATO and the EU, facilitating our integration into international structures," the Kremlin source noted
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