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    MOSCOW, January 8 (RIA Novosti) - Last year was a significant in the history of Russo-Kazakh relations, Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Kazakhstan Vladimir Babichev told RIA Novosti Thursday.

    The interview was timed to Russian President Vladimir Putin's coming visit to Kazakhstan on January 9-10.

    In the ambassador's opinion, Russo-Kazakh relations have impressive prospects. Kazakhstan is not only Russia's closest neighbor but also its reliable strategic partner on all trends of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, Babichev said.

    The diplomat, in particular, noted a significant increase of trade turnover between Russia and Kazakhstan, which by the end of last year reached $5 billion.

    The activity of almost 2,000 joint enterprises contributes to this, the ambassador said. Such large Russian companies as Lukoil (production of oil and gas), Kamaz (trucks) VAZ (cars), Gazprom (production and transportation of gas), AgroMashholding (agricultural mechanical engineering) actively work on Kazakhstan's market. The Kolomna machine-building plant recently won the tender to deliver equipment to the republic.

    Babichev also paid attention to the growth of border cooperation in northern and southern regions of Kazakhstan. 74 Russian regions are successfully implementing their interests in Kazakhstan, he said.

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