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    PUTIN HOLDS TALKS WITH YEMENI LEADERSHIP

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    MOSCOW, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin noted Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih's principled position in the fight against terrorism.

    At the talks with the Yemeni president in the Kremlin, the Russian head of state said Moscow is ready to contribute to stable development of Yemen and the situation in the region.

    "We hope our cooperation will serve these aims," Mr. Putin said.

    He suggested dividing the present work into two parts - first, to hold open talks on bilateral relations' development problems and the situation in the Middle East and Iraq, and then continue the talks tete-a-tete.

    "It's pleasant that our contacts since our last meeting in Moscow have been developing successfully on all directions," Mr. Putin said. In his words, the interest of the Russian business community in bilateral cooperation increases.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Putin said, trade between the two countries has not reached the required level yet. "But we have good prospects to develop relations," he believes.

    "The region is complex, and we are closely watching the situation both in the region and in your country," Mr. Putin said speaking to the Yemeni president. "We note with satisfaction that you manage to keep certain stability. We understand that it is not easy for you, and that it is a result of both your and your colleagues' hard work." In his turn the Yemeni president congratulated Vladimir Putin on his part, on the part of all members of the Yemeni delegation and on the part of the Yemeni government and people on his reelection on March 14.

    "You achieved a brilliant result at these elections, which were held democratically," Ali Abdallah Salih said.

    He said he would like to discuss issues of economic cooperation, trade relations, cultural ties and other issues of mutual interest.

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