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    RUSSIA, VIETNAM CONCERNED OVER DECLINING TRADE TURNOVER

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    HANOI, February 17th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russia and Vietnam are concerned over the reducing trade turnover that began last year and are particularly set on eliminating this trend, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko currently on a working visit to Hanoi said to RIA Novosti.

    In his words, the expanding trade and measures to speed up and improve trade turnover between the two countries were the centrepiece of negotiations between co-chairmen of the Russian-Vietnamese intergovernmental commission for co-operation.

    Russian and Vietnamese partners also highlighted co-operation in the oil and gas, and energy spheres and discussed Russia's participation in Vietnam's telecommunications projects. In particular, the sides considered the project of launching the first Vietnamese satellite, Vinasat, into space in 2005.

    "The Russian-French co-operation offered the final version that is now being considered by the relevant departments of Vietnam," said Khristenko.

    The session also considered bilateral co-operation in the nuclear sphere. According to Khristenko, Russia is ready to expand interaction in this area.

    The next session of the inter-governmental commission is due in Moscow in the latter half of 2004, said the deputy prime minister.

    On Tuesday, Khristenko is concluding his two-day working visit to Hanoi.

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