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    THE HAGUE, JANUARY 22, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT ANDREI POSKAKUKHIN). The prime minister of Netherlands stressed the importance of the development of the EU-Russia partner relations.

    I am glad that relations between the Russian Federation and Netherlands are developing successfully. Russia has been and remains the influential member of the international community, said prime minister of the Netherlands Jan Peter Balkenende.

    According to him, Russia and the Netherlands have many common interests in the political, economic, cultural and other spheres. In this connection, he expressed satisfaction with the fact that a joint programme of action between Russia and Netherlands for 2004-2005, which stipulates the further development of bilateral cooperation, was signed last December.

    Netherlands will chair in the European Union in the second half of this year, and Balkenende stressed in this connection the importance of maintaining intensive cooperation between Russia and the EU. He especially pointed out that many questions are being discussed with the Russian representatives at various levels, including those having different views.

    The Dutch premier believes that it is possible due to relations of partnership and mutual understanding between the EU and Russia.

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