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SOCHI, May 19. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the Sochi declaration, expected to be adopted on Friday at the end of the Russia-ASEAN summit, spells out an intention to raise the partnership to a new level.
"Since the start, our cooperation has been built on principles of mutual benefit and respect for others' interests. A common approach to the solution of many pressing issues brings us together," Putin said on Thursday, speaking at a gala reception in honor of ASEAN leaders.
The Russian president pointed out that the Russia-ASEAN summit was held in Russia for the first time. He can notice "the association nations' growing interest in closer ties" with Russia.
"The Sochi declaration has been drafted for our summit and it spells out a common goal of raising the partnership of Russia and ASEAN to a qualitatively new, strategic level," he said.
"It is crucial that both Russia and ASEAN nations stand for boosting integration for synchronizing large-scale economic projects implemented within the Asia Pacific region," Putin said. "Tomorrow we are discussing how to foster a trans-border broad partnership with the participation of the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), ASEAN and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)."
Russia is prepared for constructive, side-by-side work, he said.
"I do not doubt that we will succeed," he said, wishing a pleasant night to the heads of delegations.
Putin raised a toast "to the heads of delegations, to well-being of all people and to continuation of close cooperation between Russia and ASEAN countries."
The summit of Russia and the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is underway in Sochi on May 19-20 and has become the biggest international event in Russia in 2016.
ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar with a total population of over 600 million people. The Association aims to develop cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and other spheres, and also strengthen peace and stability in Southeast Asia.
Russia has been a dialog partner of ASEAN since July 1996. In December 2005, the first Russia-ASEAN summit was held in Kuala Lumpur. The summit participants signed a declaration on cooperation and approved an action plan - in effect a roadmap of Russia-ASEAN interaction. Similar partnership summits are normally held on the territory of member-states and the choice of Sochi as venue for the Russia-ASEAN summit on the partnership’s 20th anniversary is symbolic.
The summit is held under the slogan "Towards Strategic Partnership for the Sake of the Common Good."
The summit is expected to adopt a declaration that will lay the basis for an action plan of Russia-ASEAN cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres, as well as in the sphere of security.
The gross domestic product of ASEAN member-states stands at about $3.5 trillion today and is expected to reach $4 trillion by 2020. ASEAN is becoming an increasingly attractive area for foreign investments, which grew by 16% in 2014 to over $136 billion.