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RUSSIA, BOLIVIA MARK ANNIVERSARY

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BUENOS AIRES, April 18 (RIA-Novosti's Yuri Nikolayev) - Today Russia and Bolivia are marking the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

The first diplomatic contacts are dated 1898, when the Bolivian envoy to France Don Francisco Argandona presented letters of credence to Russia's Emperor Nikolai II, that accredited him as Bolivia's envoy in Russia, told RIA Novosti Vladimir Kulikov, Russian Ambassador to Bolivia.

Although, the countries established formal diplomatic relations only 47 years later.

On April 18, 1945, the government of Bolivia sent USSR foreign minister Andrei Gromyko an official letter expressing its wish to establish diplomatic relations. Moscow agreed to exchange extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors and gave its consent for the opening of consular relations.

Kulikov stressed that relations between Russia and Bolivia are based on understanding and complementary. The countries take almost the same position on the key international issues, particularly, enhancing security and terrorism fighting. At the same time the bilateral economic potential is not being used to the fullest, Ambassador noted.

He also reminded that during the Soviet era many economic assets in Bolivia were built in cooperation with Soviet engineers, namely, a tin metallurgical factory. The Tarija Astronomy Observatory was built by the joint efforts of the Academy of Science of Bolivia and Pulkovo observatory of Russia.

"Our country has made a large contribution to the teaching science and technology specialists for Bolivia. Over 800 young Bolivians graduated from the leading Soviet universities, and nowadays show much respect toward Russia," said Ambassador. The cooperation in this field is still going on. Some 25 Bolivian students, postgraduates and attendants of advanced training courses receive grants from Russia annually.

Russia has a great potential to expand trade and economic cooperation. Talks on the renewal of the cooperation in the mining and power sectors are being held at present, he stated.

Besides, Bolivia remains one of South America's countries where Russian-made cars are still popular.

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