Malaysian PM visits Russia

Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is in Moscow to discuss trade, energy security, and military co-operation with senior Russian officials.

Prime Minister Badawi met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.

“Our relationships are developing successfully. This year we have marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. A Malaysian cosmonaut is set to fly to the International Space Station this year which indicates that our relations are also developing in areas of high technologies such as space travel,” said Mr Putin.

There are plans for co-operation in the energy sector, expanding military-technical contacts, and even space exploration with Russian planning on sending the first Malaysian astronaut into space.

The leaders didn't skip over key international issues like the Middle East peace process and the nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea

Special attention was given to discussion on the need for the international community to work together to promote dialogue between various religious groups. Malaysia currently chairs the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Prime Minister Badawi will visit St. Petersburg, where he will be giving a lecture at the city's mosque on inter-cultural dialogue and inter-religious co-operation.

In 2003 Russia and Malaysia signed an arms deal worth $US 900 MLN, with two serial fighter jets delivered this week.

Russia and Malaysia have a long history of co-operation. Bilateral trade has doubled over the last four years – jumping by 70% in just the last six months.