THE HAGUE, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Wednesday begins a three-day official visit to Russia at the invitation of RF President Dmitry Medvedev.
This will be Rutte's first trip to Russia as Head of the Dutch Government but already a second meeting with Dmitry Medvedev: they made acquaintance in December 2010 in Astana within the framework of the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Rutte has been holding the premiership since October 14, 2010.
An official in the press service of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands has told Itar-Tass that during the visit Mark Rutte will visi Moscow and St Petersburg, meet with the President and Prime Minister of Russia, and participate in a business seminar and business meetings. He will be accompanied in the trip by Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Minister of Infrastructure, Planning, and the Environment, as well as by a large group of leading Dutch businessmen, including fifteen CEO's of transnational corporations such as Shell, Gasunie, Heineken, Boskalis, KLM, as well as the chiefs of 70 national companies representing various branches of the economy and interested in cooperation with Russia.
Mark Rutte told Itar-Tass ahead of the visit that the trip would be held under the watchword of trade. He pointed out "fine relations between our two countries in the fields of culture and sports but, first of all, in the trade-and-economic sphere". "Our two countries are now major trading partners for each other. This is why executives of many a company will accompany me. I shall be very glad to visit Russia (again) after a 20-year interval," the Premier emphasized.
Rutte said the meetings in Moscow will also deal with the 2013 reciprocal Year of Culture of Russia and the Netherlands. Upon pointing out the existing close contacts in the field of cultrue, of which the opening in Amsterdam of the Hermitage on Amstel -- a branch of the State Hermitage in the Dutch capital -- is the most vivid example, Mark Rutte emphasized, "During preparations for 2013, we must also devote attention to the strengthening of of relations in the fields of the economy, innovations, infrastructure, the construction of stadiums, health care, and the energy sector". "We have a chance to use 2013 as a thermometer to measure the state of our relations in these fields. He is confident that "The year 2013 is to us a great, fine chance to display our two countries' interaction resources". "I am attaching much importance to my visit to Moscow and and I am looking forward to it," the Prime Minister of the Netherlands stressed.
The Netherlands and Russia are major trading partners for each other. According to to the data provided by the Dutch side, Russia's export to the Netherlands runs at 14,000 million euros a year and Dutch export to Russia amounts to 6,000 million euros.
The sides implement large-scale joint projects, primarily in the field of energy. The major among them are the Sakhalin-2 project -- the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with Gazprom and Shell participating; the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline, in which the Dutch company Gasunie acquired nine percent of shares in 2007.
In June 2010, Gazprom and the Delta Project group signed an agreement on start of cooperation envisaging that in the energy sector, including the production, transportation and subterranean storage and processing of gas.
The sides agreed to carry on interaction in the fields of energy efficiency, LNG, non-traditional sources of gas, environmental protection, scientific and technical cooperation, and to combine experience in the development of deposits in the area of the Yamal Peninsula, the shelf of the Kara Sea, and the Far East.