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Putin, de Kirchner to sign statement on comprehensive strategic partnership

Russian President Vladimir Putin will have talks with visiting Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in the Kremlin on Thursday. The talks are expected to yield about 20 cooperation documents. The two leaders will put their signatures under a statement on establishing comprehensive strategic partnership.

"The document is geared to raise the level of bilateral relations, Russian president's aide Yuri Ushakov said, adding that the new status of relations between the two countries would be confirmed by a package of documents prepared for signing. These documents include an agreement between the two countries' defence ministers that sets parameters and basic guidelines of bilateral military cooperation; an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the area of environment protection; an agreement on cooperation in the area of the fight against illegal drug trafficking. Other documents cover such sectors as industry, agriculture, energy, culture, space research, investment and banking.

Russia's state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom is expected to sign a memorandum with its Argentinian colleagues. The memorandum is to open possibilities for Russia to build nuclear plants in Argentina. Ushakov noted that Rosatom was interested in being engaged in the construction of the sixth unit of the Atucha nuclear power plant in Argentina.

The presidential aide said energy-related issues would be a vital topic for discussion at the negotiations between the Russian and Argentinian presidents. As an example he cited Russia's Power Machines long-term contract for the production and supplies of turbines for the Punta Negra hydropower plant. Apart from that, he said a consortium with the participation of Russia's INTER RAO-Export had won a tender for the turn-key construction of the Chiuido-1 hydropower plant. Russian investments would reach 1.9 million U.S. dollars. The Russian company, according to Ushakov, expressed readiness to take part in a tender for the Chiuido-2 projects in the province of Nuequen.

Ushakov noted that after the talks on Thursday, the presidents of the two countries planned to sign a memorandum of understanding to implement a multi-purpose hydraulic power project 'Chiuido-1' in Argentina. In his words, the package of documents prepared for signature also included a memorandum of cooperation between Gazprom and Argentina's National Corporation of Oil and Gas Deposits.

The presidential aide noted that before the signing of the statement, the president would have tete-a-tete talks followed by negotiations is an extended format. Among topic for discussion would be cooperation in the economic, energy, military technical, and cultural-and-humanitarian sphere, he said. "The agenda will also include international issues, namely cooperation within the United Nations, the Group of Twenty, and within regional integration associations," the Kremlin representative noted.

"Our countries' approaches to the majority of global problems are close or similar," Ushakov said. "Argentina was among the co-authors of the resolution dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two. It calls to drop the use of double standards in settling international problems, not to support unilateral measures of sanction pressure."

"As concerns Argentina's dispute with the United Kingdom about the Falkland Island (Islas Malvinas), Russia supports Buenos Aires' determination to begin direct talks with London," Ushakov added.

Special attention at the talks, according to Putin's aide, would be focused on the development of economic cooperation between Russia and Argentina, which is Russia's number four trade partner in Latin America. In 2014, bilateral trade reached 1.3 billion U.S. dollars. More than 84% of Russia's imports from Argentina are fruits and meat.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 23Apr15]

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