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    RUSSIAN VICE PREMIER LEAVES FOR VIETNAM

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    MOSCOW, February 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko is leaving for Vietnam to meet co-chairman of the Russian-Vietnamese inter-governmental committee on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation.

    The talks between the co-chairmen will take place on Monday, February 16th, and on Tuesday, February 17th, the parties will sign a final protocol, Khristenko's secretariat reported.

    The negotiations are expected to touch upon all issues of bilateral cooperation, including trade, science and technology, as well as the energy and fuel sphere. The parties will also discuss inter-regional cooperation and cultural interaction.

    Today Russia is one of the top ten investors in Vietnam's economy. Its investment in the country totals approximately $1.7 billion.

    At the same time, the parties are not satisfied with the current level of bilateral trade and point out that their potential is much greater. In 11 months of 2003 Russian-Vietnamese turnover equaled about $590 million, a decline of 8 percent against 2002.

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