Russia, Mongolia have great opportunities for expanding bilateral connections

Development and deepening of good-neighbourly relations and all-round cooperation with the Russian Federation is a priority part of Mongolian foreign policy, Mongolian Premier Nambaryn Enkhbayar told journalists ahead of his official visit to Russia, which begins on June 26. The visit was arranged on the invitation of his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kasyanov.

Appraising the current state of Mongolian-Russian relations, the Mongolian premier recalled that the early 1990s had been a hard time for both Mongolia and Russia - both countries had been going through democratic and market reforms.

In 1993, the sides signed a Treaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation, which laid down the basics of good-neighbourly relations and an equal and mutually advantageous partnership.

"One can say with certainty that our relations have been successfully developing in the recent years," Enkhbayar said. "To prove that, we have the official visits Russian President Vladimir Putin and Premier Mikhail Kasyanov paid to Mongolia in November 2000 and March 2002. To put it differently, the political relationship has gone very far, and what we have to do now is to pull our trade and economic cooperation to the same high level." According to his words, the two countries are engaged in successful regional and border cooperation, which plays an important part in the whole system of bilateral relations. "It will be enough to say that 70% of the volume of commercial operations between Mongolia and Russia is handled by the Siberian region," he said, adding that his upcoming visit to Russia would begin from Siberia.

The program of Enkhbayar's visit, the Moscow part of which begins on July 1, envisages talks with Russian Premier Mikhail Kasyanov - first tete-a-tete, then in the presence of the two countries' delegations. The sides will discuss a wide range of issues dealing with the deepening and developing of economic cooperation, including Mongolia's "large debt" to the former USSR and problems with Russian real estate on the Mongolian territory.

According to Enkhbayar, the sides are going to sum up the results of his visit by signing a joint Plan of Actions the governments of Mongolia and Russia will undertake to activate trade and economic, scientific and technical, and cultural links in 2003 and 2004, an Agreement on the State Border Regime, programs of cooperation between the two countries' governments in the fields of education, culture and science in 2003-2006, and a number of other interstate and interdepartmental documents.

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