RUSSIA ATTACHES MAJOR SIGNIFICANCE TO CONSOLIDATED DIALOGUE WITH BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

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MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia attaches major significance to consolidated dialogue with Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the development of contacts between the two countries and to wider cooperation, above all in the economic sphere, the Russian foreign ministry's spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti on the eve of a routine Moscow visit by Bosnia and Herzegovina's Prime Minister Adnan Terzic, to begin on September 8.

On the agenda is signing inter-government agreements on trade and economic cooperation and on the establishment of an inter-government commission on trade and economic cooperation which are to underlie the consistent built-up of mutual turnover with its present worth of merely $55 million and its lion's share being Russian gas deliveries to the region.

Major attention will be paid to settling the former USSR's clearing debts to former Yugoslavia, in particular, to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as to clarifying the situation with the Bosnian debt for Russian gas delivered in 1991-1995. "These outstanding questions hamper the implementation of some promising projects, including in the energy sphere," said the diplomat.

Dealing with the situation on the Balkans, the Russian foreign ministry spokesman said that Russia intended to play an active role in the region. He emphasized that Moscow would help Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a uniform multi-ethnic state consisting of two jurisdictions with equal rights and would see its main task in providing stability in the country.

Moscow believes, continued Yakovenko, that Bosnia settlement could be largely facilitated by forthcoming changes in the structure of the international presence in the area.

At the same time, the planned transfer of military and some civil aspects of the peace-keeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the aegis of the European Union should not replace the main task, that of granting the Bosnian side the full volume of powers and making it fully responsible for what is happening in the country," he concluded.

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