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    MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and New Zealand see eye to eye on many political and economic issues of international concern, Boris Gryzlov, Speaker of the State Duma, or Russia's lower house of parliament, said as he opened a meeting with a New Zealand parliamentary delegation, led by Speaker Jonathan Hunt, the Federation Council press service reports. The meeting was held in the leadup to the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and New Zealand.

    Bilateral relations have been on the rise in recent years, Gryzlov remarked. Parliamentary contacts, however, are not intensive enough, he said. "I hope your visit will change this situation for the better." Gruzlov described Russia-New Zealand trade relations as "steady, but insufficiently voluminous and effective." According to statistics cited by him, bilateral trade turnover came to $70 million last year. The two countries have enough potential to step up bilateral trade, he remarked.

    The Russian government appreciates New Zealand's support for Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, Gryzlov said.

    Speaking of international issues, the Duma Speaker noted that both Russia and New Zealand are pushing for the UN's lead role in the Iraqi settlement.

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