Russian Foreign Minister to discuss terrorism issues and Iraqi situation in Philippines

On December 15-17 Russian Foreign minister Igor Ivanov is scheduled to visit the Philippines to discuss issues of cooperation in the war on terrorism and the situation surrounding Iraq, Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko said in an interview to RIA Novosti.

According to him, the visit is expected to analyze the current state of affairs in the Asia-Pacific region, state and prospects of providing security there, and ways of interaction between Russia and the ASEAN member countries and possibilities for cooperation within the framework of the ASEAN-SCO.

Yakovenko added that the two countries are expected to discuss the whole range of bilateral relations, including political contacts at various levels, the extension of the legal treaty basis of the Russian-Philippines relations.

According to the Russian official, particular emphasis is laid on enhancing economic cooperation between the countries and bringing it up to the level of political dialogue. In 2001 the mutual trade turnover was $241m. Russia believes that it does not fully reflect the two countries' potential.

It will be of great importance in this respect to establish direct diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Russia's Far Eastern and Siberian regions, namely, in the oil industry. "We know that the Philippines are interested in cooperating in this sphere," the Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.

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