UKRAINE PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER AND RUSSIA FOREIGN MINISTER PONDER COOPERATION

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KIEV, February 21 (RIA Novosti) - In Kiev on Monday, chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Rada (parliament) Vladimir Litvin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have discussed a wide range of cooperation questions.

The press service of the Ukrainian president quotes Mr. Litvin as saying that in economic relations the sides should reach a qualitatively new level, develop mutually beneficial and friendly relations in view of the national interests of the two countries.

Mr. Lavrov has confirmed Russia's desire to continue an active political dialog with Ukraine aimed at the strengthening of strategic partnership.

He said that, at the meeting with the Ukrainian leadership, agreement has been reached to hold in the near future several bilateral measures within the framework of the mixed Ukrainian-Russian cooperation commission.

The sides have also discussed an outlook for forming the common economic environment of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine; final settlement of the Azov-Kerch water area problem on the mutually advantageous basis; expansion and improvement of the contractual law base for the stay and functioning of the Russian Black sea fleet in the territory of Ukraine; strengthening of bilateral humanitarian cooperation.

Lavrov and Litvin have also discussed matters of international relations. The Supreme Rada chairman said that the reinvigoration of cooperation between the two parliaments will promote the efficient solution of problems. He gave a positive assessment to the Russian proposal on stepping up contacts between regions, including border areas.

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