Head Of British Foreign Office To Arrive In Moscow On A Working Visit

Head of the British foreign office Jack Straw arrives in Moscow on Wednesday on an one-day working visit. RIA Novosti was told at the British embassy in Moscow that negotiations will be held between Jack Straw and Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov to discuss efforts being made now in combating international terrorism. The forthcoming visit will be an example of the intensity of the Russian-British relations. The dynamics of the development of bilateral cooperation in the last years proves that the ties between the two countries have reached a qualitatively new level characterised by a high degree of confidence. The tone to the high efficiency of the Russian-British political dialogue is set by personal contacts established between Russian president Vladimir Putin and British prime minister Tony Blair. It is indicative that in 2000-2001 eight such meetings were held at which the sides discussed the urgent international problems and questions pertaining to interaction in search of ways of their solution. The Moscow visit by British defence secretary Geoffrey Hoon took place on October 9-10, and deputy prime minister John Prescott visited Moscow on October 13-16. All prerequisites are available for intensifying Russian-British trade and economic cooperation. Great Britain is an important economic partner of Russia and a major investor in Russia's economy. It accounts for 3.5 percent of the present Russian foreign trade turnover and for about seven percent of the total volume of foreign investments in the country. It is expected that in the course of negotiations Straw and Ivanov will also discuss the preparation of Vladimir Putin's visit to Great Britain. It should be recalled that at the G8 summit in Italy last July Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov reported that during his first personal meeting with the new foreign secretary of Great Britain he had delivered him an invitation to make a working visit to Russia. Igor Ivanov expressed hope, when he stayed in Rome, that such a visit will take place before the end of this year. On Wednesday, Straw also intends to meet with State Duma (lower house of parliament) deputies. In the evening he will leave the Russian capital.

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