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    IGOR IVANOV TO LEAVE FOR SPAIN

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    MOSCOW, March 3, 2004 (RIA Novosti) -- Russia's acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is leaving for Spain on a working visit.

    According to the ministry's information and press department, the visit will begin with Igor Ivanov's address to students of the Spanish Instituto de Empresa (Institute of Entrepreneurship). This educational establishment is reputed for its training of Europe's senior managers in the law, tax and audit spheres.

    Igor Ivanov is expected to address the so-called "forum of business leaders", consisting of the heads and top managers of major Spanish companies.

    On the day before the visit, head of the 1st European Department of Russia's Foreign Ministry Oleg Belous stated at a Moscow briefing that Russia's economic relations with Spain were lagging behind political relations.

    This is why he described Igor Ivanov's forthcoming speech as "important", since it gives the chance to elaborate on the economic situation in Russia. Mr. Belous noted that now the situation is "more or less favourable" for Western business.

    Russia's Ambassador to Spain Mikhail Kamynin said in an interview with RIA Novosti that the problem of Spanish investment in the Russian economy was of particular importance for Moscow. Today the Spanish investment in Russia totals just over 100 million euros. The Ambassador believes that "this clearly does not correspond to our countries' potential." Moscow and Madrid are working on investment projects in the power and food industries, the tourist sector of the Russian economy, and in modernisation and renovation of the sea transport and fishing fleets.

    Igor Ivanov's talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio are scheduled for March 4.

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