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Russia and Fiji seek to work out an agreement for visa free travel

February 01, 2012, 13:06 UTC+3

Talks with the Fiji leadership focus on the possibilities of economic relations expansion

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NADI, Fiji, February 1 (Itar-Tass) — Russia and Fiji seek to develop tourism and prepare an agreement for visa free travel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

After the talks with Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola on Wednesday, Lavrov said, “I consider today’s talks successful and important. The Asia Pacific Region is important for Russia because there is an economic upsurge. We seek to integrate in this process.”

Lavrov recalled that in September Russia would host the APEC summit. “We realise responsibility for taking into account the interests of all APR countries, as well as the interests of the states of the South Pacific Ocean although not all of them are members of the APEC,” the Russian minister stressed.

He noted that the talks with the Fiji leadership had focused on possibilities to expand trade and economic relations. Among priority fields, Lavrov named fishing, ore mining, telecommunications as well as tourism and education.

Commenting on cooperation with the other states of the South Pacific region, the Russian minister said that the potential had not been used in full yet. “We agreed to work out concrete proposals and involve the Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” he stressed.

“For the first time we discussed cooperation in the field of education. We are also ready to step up and increase joint efforts aimed at coping with the consequences of disasters,” Lavrov said. Russia provided aid to help draught-hit Tuvalu, he said, adding that Russia also rendered assistance to quake-stricken Fiji.

“We consented to improve interaction within the United Nations. We will hold the next meeting [with the South Pacific Ocean states] in New York in September within the session of the U.N. General Assembly,” Lavrov said.

He added that the talks focused on global warming, which posed a threat to the entire region. “We believe that a new legally binding agreement, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol, should be more universal to jointly fight greenhouse gas emissions,” the Russian foreign minister pointed out.

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