Russian, Vietnamese Presidents to meet in Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Duc Luong on Tuesday.

The Vietnamese leader arrived in Moscow yesterday on Vladimir Putin's personal invitation for his second official visit since 1998.

According to Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien, during the talks, the sides will inform each other on the political and economic situation in their countries and exchange opinions on fostering bilateral relations. They will also discuss international and regional problems of mutual interest.

Official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko has noted the Russian-Vietnamese dialogue focuses on trade and economic co-operation.

According to Moscow, trade and economic co-operation does not fully correspond to the two countries' potential yet. "The sides are seeking ways of solving the problems that stand in the way of Russian-Vietnamese ties," said the Russian diplomat.

Since 1998, bilateral trade turnover tends to increase. In 1999, it accounted for $402 million, and in 2003 - $651.3 million. However, Hanoi concurs with Moscow that "it does not yet meet the two countries' potentials, and has a small share in the export-import structure of the two countries." According to Alexander Yakovenko, bilateral dialogue pays special attention to co-operation in the fuel and energy sphere.

Moscow also believes the agro-industrial sector to be a promising area of co-operation, along with pharmaceutical and food industries, transport, communications, and military-technical co-operation.

Before the Kremlin negotiations begin, the Vietnamese president will take part in the Russian-Vietnamese business forum. On the same day, the two countries' Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Nguyen Dy Nien will meet for negotiations as well.

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