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MOSCOW, June 3 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin travels to Yekaterinburg on Monday to attend the 31st Russia-European Union (EU) summit that will be held there from June 3 to 4.
The European delegation will be led by EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
On the first day of the summit the leaders will meet at an informal supper. RF presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists that at the supper, to be held in a narrow format, the leaders would discuss the state of the world economy, the economic situation in Russia and the EU, the activities of the Group of Twenty (G20) in the context of Russia's presidency, and the situation around Syria. "I think this will take a good deal of time. Besides, the theme of Syria will then pass on to a working luncheon on June 4," Ushakov pointed out.
On the principal day of the summit proceedings -- June 4 -- there will be a plenary session and the working luncheon. The plenary session, Ushakov said, will deal, in particular, with matters regarding a new basic agreement between Russia and the EU, reciprocal trade and power engineering, and cooperation in the field of air transport -- "including the question of transfer of data on passengers", as well as visa-free arrangements for citizens' short trips. About the latter item, the presidential aide said he expects "a rather interesting discussion". In the process, the Kremlin offiicial emphasized, the Russian side "will not seek to persuade the EU leaders into deciding this question right now when they are obviously not prepared (to do so)".
The agenda of the plenary session also includes items concerning cooperation in the fields of freedom, security, and justice, interaction in the fields of external security, human rights, and supremacy of law.
At the working luncheon, the leaders, along with the above-mentioned theme of Syria, "will also discuss the situation in the Middle East and North Africa as a whole, Iran's nuclear programme, the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula, the efforts to settle the Trans-Dniester Region issue, Nagorno-Karabakh, Georgia, and Centrla Asia.
Participants in the summit are also expected to sign an agreement between Russia and the EU on the precursors of narcotics. On the Russian side, the document is to be signed by Head of Drug Control Agency Viktor Ivanov.
Government ministers, other officials and experts will also participate in the summit events along with the chief executive officers. As for Russian ministers, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov, Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, and Minister of Economic Development Andrei Belousov will also take part in the summit.
According to tradition, such summits are held twice a year, in the first half of the year on the RF territory and the one in the second half of the year is held in a country presiding over the EU. Russia seeks to hold such meetings at summit level not only in Moscow and St Petersburg. In preivous years, RF-EU summits were held in Khabarovsk, Khanty-Mansiisk, Tomsk, Nizhny Novgorod, and Rostov-on-Don.