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Putin to begin series of meetings with foreign leaders arriving in Sochi

February 06, 2014, 0:33 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, February 06, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is spending the last pre-Olympic week in Sochi, on Thursday Putin will start a series of meetings with foreign leaders coming here to attend the Olympic events, the Kremlin press service reported.

According to the press service, the Russian leader will first meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon. Later, Putin will have talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and some other foreign leaders.

According to presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, about 60 foreign leaders plan to attend the Olympic events, of whom 44 will be present at the opening ceremony on February 7. It is not ruled out that among the guests there will be Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. Earlier, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said he had such plans.

The Russian president said he planned to discuss various global problems with his foreign colleagues. “I am sure we will use this opportunity [the Olympic Games] to speak in a calm and friendly atmosphere,” he told journalists on Wednesday, while visiting the Olympic Village. “We must make a maximum use of this opportunity to try to find common point and move forward in problem solving.”

“There are many of them [problems] in the world,” he noted, adding that possible subjects for discussion would include the situation in Syria, Ukraine, the Middle East, as well as economic and security problems. The Russian leader also noted that Asian partners were worried over possible development of the situation in Afghanistan after the coalition forces were withdrawn from that country. “We are worried over this problem too - this region is Russia’s southern underbelly and we cannot say that the border is airtight,” Putin said.

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