President Putin wishes happy New Year to foreign leaders

Vladimir Putin has mailed Christmas and New Year congratulations to foreign leaders and state figures.

In each message, he said he hoped for further strengthening of "traditional friendship, good-neighborly relations and mutually advantageous cooperation" and for the stepping up of "joint efforts to deepen integration processes in various spheres," reported the Kremlin press service.

In his letter to US President George W. Bush, Putin stressed that Russia-US relations had acquired "the character of a true partnership." "During the past year, we managed to do a lot of things dealing with the whole agenda of Russian-US collaboration," he wrote. However, there was "yet another tense and responsibility-laden year ahead." "I feel sure that our joint work will be just as productive and dynamic and will help solve international and regional problems," he said.

His message to Indian Premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee began with the words that the outgoing year had been "extremely eventful and productive from the point of view of Russian-Indian cooperation." "Our recent talks in Delhi confirmed, once again, the high level of strategic partnership between Russia and India," Putin stated.

The letter to Chinese leader Jiang Zemin read, in part: "I have fond memories of the recent meetings in Beijing. I am sure all our agreements will be successfully realized." The president also added that he was looking forward to "continuing the constructive dialogue that helps the forward movement of Russian-Chinese partnership."

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