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BANDAR-SERI-BEGAWAN, July 1 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov on Monday begins a visit to Brunei where he will attend a Russia-ASEAN ministerial meeting to discuss a further development of Russia's cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
A Russian Foreign Ministry official emphasized, "To develop dialogue and partnership with ASEAN is one of priority tasks set out in the Foreign Policy Concept of Russia. The Minister's participation in the forthcoming meetings is expected to make a tangible conribution to accomplishing those tasks".
The main subjects of discussion will be the ensurance of regional security, counteraction to terrorism and transnational crime, the elaboration of specific measures to give greater scope to trade-and-economic and investment cooperation. The Minister is to discuss long-term plans in the fields of innovations and high technologies, and work out joint projects in space research, nanobiotechnologies, power engineering, and education.
"Special importance is attached to establishing interaction between Russian and ASEAN business circles. A good help in this respect was the holding of the Russia-ASEAN first full-scale Business forum within the framework of the 17th Petersburg international economic forum," the RF Foreign Ministry official pointed out.
On the sidelines of ASEAN meetings, the Minister is to hold a number of bilateral meetings. In particular, Sergei Lavrov is to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the situation concerning Syria so as to clarify prospects for the convocation of a Geneva-2 international conference. Up to now, there is no clarity about a timeframe for and a list participants in the conference. The situation is bein also complicated by differences inside the Syrian Opposition, some members of which are not prepared to participated in the conference without pre-conditions. The RF Foreign Minister remarked in this connection that the Russian side "relies in this respect on the efforts being made by Western partners, primarily the USA, which undertook to get such consent from the (Syrian) Opposition."