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December 21 preview

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MOSCOW

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with his Macedonian counterpart, Ilinka Mitreva.

* Russian President's economy advisor Andrei Illarionov will give a news conference on the economic results of 2005 (1:00 p.m.).

* The Natural Resources Ministry will host a nationwide session on the results of the 2005 activities of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Natural Resources and the 2006 goals (10:00 a.m.).

* An extended final session of the board of Russian Railways (RZD), the country's railroad monopoly, will be held (2:00 p.m.). RZD President Vladimir Yakunin, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and Transportation Minister Igor Levitin will attend.

* A session of the State Duma will be held (10:00 a.m.). The lower chamber will consider measures to prevent pollution of the Amur River after an explosion at a petrochemical plant in China, amendments to the Tax Code, the law "On the Special Economic Zone in the Kaliningrad Region," etc.

* RIA Novosti will host:

- a roundtable on the demographic growth policy (11:00 a.m.);

- a news conference with President of the Russian Football Union Vitaly Mutko on the 2005 results and tasks for 2006 (2:00 p.m.).

* Interfax news agency will host the following news conferences:

- with Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev on the results of the ministry's work in 2005 and plans for 2006 (11:00 a.m.);

- with ecologists from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund on the prevention of an ecological catastrophe on the Amur River (12:30 p.m.).

* The Russian Association for International Cooperation will hold a session dedicated to its 80th anniversary (4:00 p.m.). The association will summarize its work in 2005 and discuss plans for 2006-2008.

BAIKONUR

* A Progress-M55 cargo spacecraft will be launched to be docked with the International Space Station (9:38 p.m. Moscow time).

SARANSK

* The first cable TV network in Mordovia, a republic in central Russia, will be launched. Information Technologies and Mass Communications Minister Leonid Reiman and Culture and Mass Communication Minister Alexander Sokolov will attend the ceremony.

KAMBARKA, UDMURTIA

* A test launch of Russia's second chemical weapons disposal facility will take place.

CRIMEA, UKRAINE

* Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin will arrive in the Crimea, a Black Sea autonomy, on a routine visit. He will discuss the development of the bilateral inter-regional cooperation with local authorities and meet with commanders of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

MINSK

* A delegation of the Russian Armed Forces will visit Belarus (December 21-22).

VIENNA

* Preliminary talks between the "EU troika" (Britain, France, and Germany) and Iran on the Iranian nuclear issue will open.

UNITED NATIONS

* UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will give a news conference on the year's results.

RIA Novosti holds a full copyright for all its published materials. Upon any republication of RIA Novosti materials reference to RIA Novosti is mandatory.

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