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Russia and U.S. to continue dialogue on ABMs

Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said his negotiations in Sydney with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were productive and have set the agenda for a meeting between the two countries' presidents. The talks were held during the Asia-Pa

“The meeting with Condoleezza Rice was wholly focused on the agreements which were reached by our presidents during their last summits. We talked about the missile defence system, we talked about the situation of armed forces in Europe. Those were the key moments, and we agreed to continue professional talks in order to come to a mutually acceptable decision,” Russia's Foreign Minister stated.

Foreign and trade ministers from 21 countries, including Russia, are attending the meeting in Sydney.

The members of the APEC forum have called for talks on Russia's membership of the World Trade Organization to be speeded up. Russia’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade, German Gref, hopes the country will complete talks over its accession to the WTO by the end of the year, but formal procedures are likely to be postponed until next year.
Also, at Thursday's session, APEC members welcomed Russia's intention to chair the organisation in 2012 and host the summit in Vladivostok, Russia’s largest port city on the Pacific Ocean, if APEC leaders approve.

President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Sydney on Friday to meet with APEC leaders. Speaking in Indonesia, where the Russian leader is currently on an official visit, he stressed the significance of Russia's co-operation with APEC.  

“The APEC forum is made up of a unique range of member-countries with economies at various stages of development. Increasing its activity in APEC is important to Russia’s national interests. We see it as a major trend of Russia's foreign policy and we intend to further improve trade conditions in the region. This plan co-ordinates well with Russia's social and economic development plans. This will primarily be realised with development programmes for the Far East and other regions in the Asia-Pacific area,” Vladimir Putin said.