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    KHRISTENKO LEAVES FOR ALMA-ATA AS ACTING PM

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    MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti correspondent Andrei Malosolov) - Russian Acting Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko is leaving for his first official trip outside Russia at his new post this afternoon. In Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan), he will attend a session of the ninth interstate council of the Eurasian Economic Community at the level of prime ministers.

    Khristenko's predecessor - Mikhail Kasyanov - made 74 trips abroad across the country and the CIS, having visited 72 cities from 2000. Kasyanov opened this score on May 23-24 after his first international visit to Belarus as prime minister, though the Russian delegation was then headed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, already on June 29th Kasyanov made his first trip to Rostov-on-Don and Volgodonsk as head of the Russian government. In all, Kasyanov made 14 different visits in 2000, including to Switzerland, England, Norway, Turkey, China and France.

    In 2001, he made 19 official visits and working trips, including to Italy, Germany and Sweden, Poland, Austria, Kazakhstan, Moldova. In the same year, Kasyanov made a Canada-Brazil-Venezuela tour.

    In 2002, the number of Kasyanov's visits increased to 22, most of them inside the country. For the first time in many years, the Russian premier visited Mongolia and Vietnam where he discussed restoration of old ties, the Soviet debt, the construction of Russian facilities and modernization of the armed forces. For the first time since the Soviet era, he went to Africa to visit South Africa, Ethiopia and Tanzania. In the same year, Kasyanov flew to Mexico for an APEC summit instead of Vladimir Putin, who had to stay in Russia in view of the hostage taking during the Nord-Ost musical in Moscow.

    In 2003, Kasyanov made 19 visits and trips, emphasizing the restoration of trade and economic ties with Poland, Romania and Hungary. In Japan, Kasyanov discussed economic issues.

    During his premiership, Kasyanov made four visits to St. Petersburg, four - to Minsk, three - to China, Germany, Finland, Ukraine and Kaliningrad.

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