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Russia, Uruguay rounding up work on new customs agreement

July 30, 2013, 6:26 UTC+3

Russia is purchaser number one of Uruguayan meat

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BUENOS AIRES, July 30 (Itar-Tass) - Russia and Uruguay are about to complete the drafting of a new customs agreement that will eliminate the barriers impeding trade between the two countries at present, MP Vyacheslav Nikonov who chairs the committee for education at the State Duma told Itar-Tass.

“Russia is purchaser number one of Uruguayan meat and the trade turnover between our two countries is getting close to $ 1 billion,” he said. “An intergovernmental commission is getting down to business and we hope it will be able to work out a list of projects along the key guidelines for cooperation in the future.”

“We also pointed out the important role that Uruguay can play - by using Mercosur channels, for instance -- in working out the agenda of the next BRICS summit, at which Brazil will have chairmanship,” Nikonov said.

He recalled that South Africa had the term of BRICS rotating presidency this year and the summit largely transformed into clearing out the relationship between BRICS and Africa as a continent.

Brazil has the capability to speak on behalf of the entire Latin American continent and Mercosur as a South American common market may play a considerable enough role, too.

The sides noted “an obvious identity of views on a broad spectrum of issues”, including the entire agenda for contacts in the UN.

Also, they reached understanding on the situation around the former CIA officer Edward Snowden and the forced landing of the Bolivian President Evo Morales’s jet in Vienna.

“As for the cultural sphere, we called the attention of our Uruguayan opposite numbers to the fact that the Russian language is not present almost anywhere at colleges and universities here,” Nikonov said. “The exception is a small town of San Javier that was founded by Russian settlers in 1913 and is the only place in the Southern Hemisphere where the descendants of ethnic Russians make up the majority of the population.”

“The State Duma delegation took part in the festivities dedicated to the centenary anniversary since the foundation of the city that was founded by the Russians who resettled from the Voronezh governorate.

Nikonov also visited a local youth dance group called Kalinka, which is based in San Javier, and invited it to Russia to give concerts in St Petersburg and Moscow.

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