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Sergei Lavrov to travel to Finland Mon for talks with the country's leadership

June 09, 2014, 7:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov travels to Finland on Monday for a visit. He is to hold talks with the country's leadership.

Lavrov is to hold talks with his Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja in the city of Turku and is to meet with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto at his summer residence in the city of Naantali.

RF Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich pointed out, "Over the past two decades Russia-Finland relations have been serving as an example of goodneighbourliness, equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. In a whole lot of areas, primarily trade-and-economic and investment spheres, bilateral interaction has reached out to the level of strategic partnership".

Interparliamentary cooperation grows stronger. The Speakers of both houses of the RF Federal Assembly (parliament) paid official visits to Finland in 2013. Interregional contacts develop actively and permanent contacts are maintained through ministries and agencies.

The legal-treaty basis of bilateral cooperation gains in scope continuously. There are now about 90 interstate and intergovernmental documents available between the two countries.

"At the same time, in the past three months, a decline in the intensiveness Russian-Finnish contacts has been observed in view of the stand taken by Finland within the framework of the policy being pursued by the European Union with regard to Russia in the context of the events in Ukraine," the diplomat said. "The Finnish side has cancelled or postponed a number of joint arrangements, including a session of the Russia-Finland intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation, a visit of Finnish Defence Minister Carl Haglund to Russia, a Transport ministers' meeting, during which two intergovernmental agreements were to be signed, and an Interior ministers' meeting. A visit of Finnish Parliament Speaker Eero Heinaluoma to Moscow was postponed until a later date".

"For our part, we believe that such moves do not accord either with the spirit of Russo-Finnish goodneighbourliness or the principles of mutual advantage," Lukashevich emphasized. "Restoring the traditionally high dynamism of bilateral interaction would meet mutual long-term interests of our two states".

The spokesman of Russia's Foreign Ministry pointed out, "Finland is among Russia's priority business partners while Russia has been ranking the first since 2008 among Finland's trading partners". "Bilateral trade turnover in 2013 grew by 10% to run at $18.7 billion," Lukashevich said.

"We note great interest shown by Finnish businesses in the Petersburg international economic forum of May 22-24. The Finnish delegation at the forum was comprised of about 40 members, among them the executives of companies which are the recognized top-of-the-range in the country's economy," Lukashevich said.

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