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    PUTIN: MOSCOW FOR DEEPER RUSSIAN-KAZAKH RELATIONS

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    MOSCOW, January 22nd, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russian President Vladimir Putin sees "the fuel and energy sector, the development of new technologies and peaceful space exploration as priority areas of Russia's co-operation with Kazakhstan.

    When speaking at the credentials handing ceremony in the Kremlin, the Russian president said to the Kazakh ambassador that Moscow attached great importance to Russian-Kazakh ties in all spheres." He described the recent talks in the new Kazakh capital, Astana, as "exclusively fruitful". The talks at issue yielded a large package of agreements, both interstate and between companies.

    "Our countries' further rapprochement is conditional on the common approach to the ways of national economic development that is based on the concept of forming a single economic space (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine)," said Putin.

    Besides, the president believes that Russia and Kazakhstan can jointly "tackle issues of border of co-operation and border areas." Vladimir Putin also expressed confidence that 2004 would become another bright page in the many-centuries' history of friendship between our peoples.

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