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    PETERSBURG GOVERNOR IS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT DEVELOPMENT OF RELATIONS WITH FINLAND

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    ST. PETERSBURG, February 13, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Dina Danilova). St. Petersburg and Finland have a possibility to boost economic relations, St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko said in Pulkovo airport, on returning from a three-day routine trip to Finland.

    "I am quite optimistic about the expansion and development of relations between St. Petersburg and Finland. Finland considers St. Petersburg its main partner in Russia. However, we have possibilities to boost our relations in many spheres," the governor said.

    Today Finland is one of St. Petersburg's main strategic partners, she noted. In 2003 the mutual trade turnover grew by 26 percent and totaled 880 million euros and the volume of investments was 130 million euros.

    According to Matviyenko, she discussed with the Finnish leadership and businessmen the creation of a technopark in St. Petersburg and priority economic programs and projects, for instance, the construction of the south-western purification plants.

    At issue was the improvement of transport communications, in particular, the restoration of regular ferry service between Helsinki and St. Petersburg and the construction of a rapid-transit railway St. Petersburg - Helsinki, Matviyenko said.

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