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    PLANS FOR RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN COOPERATION MUST REMAIN INTACT, BELIEVES RUSSIAN MINISTER

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    TBILISI, February 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Transportation Minister, Co-Chair of the Georgian-Russian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation Igor Levitin believes that plans for bilateral cooperation prepared by the committee must remain intact.

    "The plans for mutual cooperation, prepared by the intergovernmental commission that was co-chaired on the Georgian part by Zurab Zhvania, have been approved by leaders of both countries, and I believe they must remain unchanged," Igor Levitin announced in an interview with the Novosti-Georgia news agency.

    The Russian delegation headed by the transportation minister arrived in Tbilisi on Sunday to participate in the solemn burial ceremony of Zurab Zhvania.

    "We arrived in Tbilisi on behalf of the Russian government to express condolences in connection with a tragic death of the Georgian prime minister. I, personally, as Zurab Zhvania's colleague in the work of the commission, saw a reliable partner in him, a person who always kept his word," Igor Levitin stated.

    He said, "During half a year of the existence of the commission, we developed many projects, which will ensure the strengthening of economic ties between the two countries." In particular, the Russian minister mentioned a Poti-Kavkaz ferry connection, and increased participation of Russian business in various projects in the sphere of banking business and tool-making industry in Georgia.

    The Russian transportation minister announced that the next meeting of the intergovernmental committee was planned to be conducted in March 2005. "I hope this meeting will take place, although it might be postponed a bit," Mr. Levitin said.

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