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    IGOR IVANOV: EU EXPANSION TO HAVE NO NEGATIVE IMPACT ON RUSSIAN ECONOMY

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    MADRID, March 4, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The EU expansion will lead to no serious consequences for the Russian economy, Russian acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said at the press-conference following his meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio.

    "However, there are some issues of concern, which should be settled," Mr. Ivanov stressed.

    At present active negotiations are being held with the EU in order to avoid extra expenses connected with the EU expansion, he added. Moscow hopes that mutually acceptable agreements on the issue of the concern will be reached.

    Mr. Ivanov reminded that the increase of the cooperation with the EU is of the strategic importance for Russia, since with the expansion of the organization 50% of the Russian trade turnover will fall on the EU.

    "We flatly deny some western mass media statements that Russia opposes the EU expansion. Russia has always spoken for the EU expansion," Mr. Ivanov stated.

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