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    TRADE BETWEEN RUSSIA, SPAIN STILL LAGGING BEHIND THEIR POLITICAL DIALOGUE

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 2 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Trade between Russia and Spain is still lagging behind their political dialogue, Oleg Belous of the Russian Foreign Ministry told a news briefing in Moscow.

    Speaking of the March 3-4 trip to Spain by Acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov of Russia, Belous described it as a "routine, scheduled visit." During his sojourn in Spain, Mr. Ivanov is expected to address students of a reputed Spanish business school.

    Officials in Moscow believe the forthcoming speech to be of much significance as it will give the Spanish business community an idea of what the economic situation in Russia is really like at the moment. In Belous's assessment, the current situation in this country is "more or less favorable" to Western investors.

    Also, Mr. Ivanov is scheduled to meet with his Spanish counterpart, Ana Palacio. As is expected, the two ministers will discuss Russia's relations with the European Union and also issues relating to Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. According to Belous, Gibraltar and Western Sahara settlement might also be high on the Ivanov-Palacio agenda.

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