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Putin won't attend APEC summit in Philippines — Kremlin

November 12, 2015, 12:35 UTC+3
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will go instead
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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© Mikhail Klementiev/TASS

MOSCOW, November 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not go to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Philippines on November 18-19 while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will represent Russia at the summit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"I can confirm that Prime Minister will represent Russia at APEC summit in Manila," Peskov said, adding that Medvedev also plans other visits in South-Eastern Asia. "In this respect from the viewpoint of optimization of schedules of the top leadership of the country president has made a decision not to go that far together with the premier with literally 1-2 days' difference," he said.

Peskov added that Russian President traditionally pays much attention to APEC summit and its agenda. "An article written by President focusing on APEC summit agenda and cooperation in the Asian-Pacific region in general is being prepared. It will be published before summit in leading media of APEC countries," Kremlin spokesman said.

It’s not common practice to change structures of delegations. In 2012, President Putin also delegated Prime Minister Medvedev to the annual meeting of G8 leaders in the United States as he was engaged in forming the new Cabinet of ministers. Other leaders also sometimes resort to swaps, for example, the US President Barack Obama did not visit APEC summit in Russia in 2012 as the event coincided with the Democratic Party’s convention.

The Kremlin has dismissed allegations that the appointment of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as head of the Russian delegation to an APEC summit instead of the president came because the prime minister was allegedly enjoying better relations with US President Barack Obama, who also plans to take part in the forum.

"This is an incorrect estimation which shows lack of understanding of the essence of Russian policy in the Asia-Pacific region,’ the spokesman said.

"This (Russia’s policy in the region) is an independent dimension of the Russian foreign policy," having no correlation with bilateral relations with the United States, Peskov said.

"Russia has rather constructive and close relations with many representatives of the Asia-Pacific region, this cooperation will of course continue irrespective of our bilateral relations with third countries," he added.

Peskov said Medvedev will make up a program of his bilateral meetings himself.

The spokesman refused to answer the question whether Medvedev would meet with US President Barack Obama.

"This question should be addressed to the government," Peskov said. "Dmitry Medvedev would make up his program and I am probably not the one to comment on this."

He also said that such summits "give a great opportunity for communication on the sidelines."

According to the spokesman, Vladimir Putin’s contacts with colleagues will not be affected by his decision not to take part in the APEC summit.

He said "some of bilateral meetings [planned at the summit] will be compensated by telephone conversations, some other meetings have not been coordinated yet."

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