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Russia strengthens ties with ASEAN

Tackling terrorism and trade have dominated talks between Russia and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went to the Philippines to reassure members of Asia's top security summit of Moscow.

To cement that, Russia is giving 500,000 dollars to a newly created Russia-ASEAN financial fund with a view to expand energy and technical ties.

Addressing his colleagues at the postministerial meeting, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underlined Russia's value of the organisation.

“We would like once again to stress our sincere interest in moving Russia-ASEAN partnership forward, especially in trade and economic areas. One of our priorities is discussing the substance of the next Russia-ASEAN summit, which should be periodically held – but of course should be very well prepared,” said Sergey Lavrov. 

Trade and economic relations with ASEAN member states – are among the issues Russia is focused on.

The current trade turnover between Russian and the ten member states was valued at 5 billion us dollars in 2005 a figure both all sides believe needs to grow.

Joint work in the energy sector is also being discussed, as Russia pursues the topic of energy security.

The potential for increased co-operation, according to the Russian Foreign Minister, applies to most areas on the summit's agenda.

“We agreed to speed up the adoption of documents are supposed to regulate mechanism of our consultations in various areas like disaster prevention, organised crime and terrorism, energy, science and technology,” commented the Russian Foreign Minister.

But while regional and bilateral matters take centre stage, international issues are not being ignored.

ASEAN's regional forum will look at the current situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Korea's nuclear programme – as well as Iran's nuclear ambitions.