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    Panama's president Juan Carlos Varela gestures during his visit to the new set of locks at the Panama Canal Expansion project on the pacific side in Panama City March 18, 2016

    Panamanian President Invites Putin to Locks Construction Event June 26

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    Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin with a visit to Panama.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to an event on June 26 dedicated to the beginning of construction of a locks in the Panama Canal in line with the waterway's expansion, Panamanian Ambassador to Russia Miguel Lecaro Barcenas said Thursday.

    “I’d like to sieze the moment to pass an invitation from Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Russian government is represented at the highest level for a ceremony dedicated to the beginning of construction on the Panama Canal…on June 26,” Barcenas said during an event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov thanked the ambassador for the invitation and promised to send it to the Russian president’s administration.

    Russia’s ties with Panama show "great promise" to ensure regional stability and security, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at an event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations on Thursday.

    "We are deeply convinced that Russian-Panamanian relations, whose potential is yet to be fully realized, show great promise and broad horizons," Ryabkov said.

    "We will work together with colleagues from Panama to ensure that this potential would continue to manifest itself for the benefit of our peoples and would contribute to regional security and stability," Ryabkov reaffirmed.

    The Panama Canal is an artificial waterway through the territory of Panama in Central America. It cuts across the Isthmus of Panama at its bottom and links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    The canal was administered by Washington, which rented the facility until 1999, when it was handed over to Panama. The facility, handling some 14,000 vessels a year, currently undergoes an expansion program, designed to double the canal’s throughput, that began in 2007 and is scheduled for completion by 2016.


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