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    MOSCOW, January 27th, 2004 (RIA Novosti) -- US Secretary of State Colin Powell met Russian and US businessmen to discuss current problems in co-operation between the two countries' business communities.

    I find it quite important to hear out the opinion of businessmen, Powell told his audience. It would be quite easy for me to address you and to answer your questions; still I prefer a dialogue, Powell stressed. This is an important opportunity for you because you can thus send a message to my colleagues in the Cabinet and the President of the United States, Powell said.

    According to Powell, he discussed the state of bilateral trade-and-economic ties, as well as their further development, with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and President Vladimir Putin.

    We have managed to enhance Russian-US relations; we have accomplished a lot together, expanding our trade potential, too, Powell noted.

    Still this doesn't mean that our relations are devoid of any problems, Powell said. I mentioned specific difficulties facing us at the talks in Moscow, he added. Nonetheless, we can openly discuss such problems because we maintain a good relationship, Powell went on to say. As I see it, we should talk about this more often, hearing out remarks; consequently, it would become possible to see whether our dialogue is developing correctly, Powell noted. In his words, this is what should become the foundation of partnership and friendship between Moscow and Washington.

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