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Defense Secretary Gates to make final visit to Russia before retirement - White House

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will make his final trip to Russia next week before retiring later in the year, White House spokesman Jeff Morrell told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will make his final trip to Russia next week before retiring later in the year, White House spokesman Jeff Morrell told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

Gates, 67, will visit Moscow and St. Petersburg March 22-23.

"This is his fourth and possibly final trip as Defense Secretary. He is leaving this year. And therefore he is very much looking forward to this trip," Morrell said.

The Pentagon chief has repeated several times that he would retire in 2011, before 2012 election campaigns begin. He said he wants to vacate his office this year so that a new minister could work with the current presidential administration before elections next year.

WASHINGTON, March 17 (RIA Novosti)

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