RUSSIA WANTS TO BECOME TRANSIT BRIDGE BETWEEN EUROPE AND APR

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BERLIN, September 18 (RIA Novosti's Taras Lariokhin) - At a conference of chief executives of European railways in Berlin, head of the Russian Railways joint stock company Gennady Fadeyev called Russia's turning into a country of big transit between Europe and the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region a strategic aim.

In his words, the agreement with the German Railways on the establishment of a joint enterprise on freight service to explore the capabilities of the market in the Eastern Asia-China-Russia-Western Europe direction and vice versa serves this aim.

"We are ready to consider proposals of other railway administrations on creation of joint operator companies as well," said Mr. Fadeyev.

He named the main five directions of interaction between Russia and the European Union in the sphere of railway transport on the mid-term prospect - until 2010. The talk is about harmonization of the transport policy, measures on synchronization and unification of transport law, simplification of border and customs formalities, joint scientific-technical developments in the sphere of infrastructure, and increasing the volume of container transportation in direct international trains.

"Deep integration" of Russian Railways into the European transport system, said Mr. Fadeyev, "fully corresponds to the program document European Transport Policy Until 2010: 'Time to Decide' adopted by the EU in early 2002."

The Russian Railways head suggested that the conference participants pick out in this connection three-four priority projects as regards cooperation between Russia and the EU and organize "target profile project groups possessing the necessary competence, means and resources."

It is necessary to organize through container transportation between the countries of Western Europe and industrial regions of China and South Korea, he noted. Demand for new passenger routes between Russian cities and Western European capitals is growing.

In Mr. Fadeyev's words, realization of such projects "will become an important step in the cause of establishing a civilized economic community on the whole Eurasian space."

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