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Russia, Bulgaria sign intergovernmental agreements in Moscow

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Russia and Bulgaria have signed a number of intergovernmental agreements on cooperation as prime ministers of the two former Communist countries met Tuesday in Moscow.
MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Bulgaria have signed a number of intergovernmental agreements on cooperation as prime ministers of the two former Communist countries met Tuesday in Moscow.

The meeting between Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, who arrived in Moscow on Tuesday morning, and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov produced intergovernmental agreements on economic and scientific-technical cooperation, an agreement on cooperation in tourism and a deal on mutual protection of intellectual property.

Stanishev said the agreements would make bilateral cooperation more specific. "These new concrete relations will form a new atmosphere and possibilities for implementation of new projects," he said.

The prime ministers said two countries were ready to implement new ambitious projects, and diversify bilateral trade. "Our negotiations today highlighted ways of diversifying and developing bilateral trade structure," Fradkov said. "An active political dialogue, which has developed recently, is leading our economic relations from a standstill of the early 1990s. All this can be proved by our agreements on a number of large-scale projects."

Stanishev said Russia and Bulgaria, jointly with Greece, were participating in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.

Russia, Bulgaria and Greece signed a long-delayed deal to build a pipeline across their territories to pump Russian oil further on to Europe in March this year. Greece already ratified the agreement in April, while Russia and Bulgaria are only about to do so. Fradkov said Tuesday that Russia would soon ratify the agreement.

The 280-kilometer (175-mile) Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline will carry Russian oil via the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas and Greece's Alexandroupolis on the Aegean to Europe, the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region. The pipeline will pump 35 million metric tons of oil a year (257.25 million bbl), a volume that could eventually be increased to 50 million metric tons (367.5 million bbl).

Besides the pipeline project, Russia and Bulgaria cooperate in the nuclear energy sector as last October Russia's nuclear equipment export monopoly Atomstroyexport won a tender to build a nuclear power plant in Belene. The Balkan state wants to build a second NPP in Belene, 250 kilometers (about 150 miles) from the capital, Sofia, and to modernize the Kozloduy NPP in the north of the country.

Before meeting with the Russian premier, Stanishev opened his two-day visit to Russia with negotiations with President Vladimir Putin, who highly spoke of bilateral trade relations but called for diversifying bilateral trade.

According to Russia's Foreign Ministry, Russia is Bulgaria's third largest trading partner after Germany and Italy.

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