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    FOREIGN MINISTER OF SWEDEN TO DISCUSS IN MOSCOW PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN RUSSIA AND EUROPEAN UNION

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 2, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). On Tuesday, Russian acting foreign minister Igor Ivanov will discuss the further deepening of partnership between Russia and the European Union with foreign minister of Sweden Laila Freivalds. This is the first visit of Laila Freivalds to Russia as a foreign minister of Sweden.

    It can be said that this will be a familiarization visit but consultations will be held with Igor Ivanov on various issues, said Swedish ambassador to Russia Sven Hirdman in an interview with RIA Novosti.

    I think that negotiations will begin with the discussion of bilateral relations which are developing successfully in the political and economic spheres. There are also specific questions of the Russian-Swedish cooperation which should be discussed, for instance, the opening of the Swedish information and cultural centre in St. Petersburg," said the ambassador.

    Spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko reported that the Swedish and Russian foreign ministers are going to discuss the work of the permanent council of Russia-EU partnership as well as the creation of common environments in the economic and trade spheres, internal and external security, freedom, justice, science and culture as well as the interaction in the field of a crisis regulation.

    In addition, Yakovenko said, the foreign ministers of the two countries will discuss the condition of the Russian-speaking population in Latvia and Estonia, in particular the policy of curtailing education in Russian in Latvian schools.

    Ivanov and Freivalds will also discuss the topical international problems, above all, the settlement in the Middle East and the situation in Iraq. On that same day Laila Freivalds will make a report at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry: "Sweden and Russia in the Changing Europe." The Moscow visit of the Swedish foreign minister will end on March 2.

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