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    RUSSIAN AND UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTS TO DISCUSS GAS TRANSPORTATION CONSORTIUM

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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 23, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). Within the framework of the Russian President's two-day working visit to Ukraine, which begins today, Vladimir Putin and Leonid Kuchma will discuss the creation of the gas transportation consortium.

    Deputy presidential chief of staff Sergei Prikhodko said that the creation of the gas transportation consortium is going on with difficulty. He also stressed that Russia does not dramatize the problem since this is a very important and difficult issue.

    "All the decisions related to the consortium have been adopted, and they should be realized," Prikhodko pointed out.

    Explaining the causes for a certain pause in the work of creating the consortium, he said that "nobody will approve the decisions which will infringe upon the interests of its member states." He also reported that "Germany did not lost interest in this project." It waits for our agreement with Kiev to be reached," Prikhodko stressed.

    Speaking on the state of the Russian-Ukrainian relations, Sergei Prikhodko pointed out that despite the ambiguous estimates on the part of some political scientists concerning the present stage of relations between Russia and Ukraine, they continue developing. According to him, the trade turnover grew by 36 percent, and its structure improved. In addition , the Russian-Ukrainian "collaboration on the international scene changed for the better. Industrial cooperation is growing, and interaction in the field of high technologies is expanding," the Kremlin administration's representative said.

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