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MOSCOW, February 5. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia and Panama are now in active negotiations about opening through air service, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Panama to Russia Gabriel Sosa Garcia de Paredes told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
Two Russian air carriers, Aeroflot and Transaero, were involved in the talks, he added, while Panama’s national air carrier Copa Airlines is ready to arrange Moscow-Panama flights in any of its three international airports. The ambassador expressed hope that direct flights would start in the second half of the year.
Furthermore, talks about visa-free regime for both countries’ citizens are at its final stage, which, according to the ambassador, should give an additional impetus to the development of economic ties.
Garcia de Paredes noted that attracting Russian companies in spheres of strategic logistics and transport projects were one of his tasks as the head of the diplomatic mission in Russia. The major national projects like the expansion of the Panama Canal, construction of new roads and freight infrastructures were now underway, he said, adding Russia’s potential participation would be in both countries’ best interests.
Hi-tech technology was another field for promising cooperation. Since the major telecommunication lines go through Panama and its geographical position is of benefit for satellite telecommunications, Russia could partake in modernization and expansion of the infrastructure, Garcia de Paredes said.
Meetings with the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a number of other business unions led to a decision to hold a bilateral business forum in Moscow in late March with the participation of the Chamber and Panamanian free trade zone. Attracting Russian investments to Panama will be the main goal of such meeting.
“We see Russia as an important partner with great potential. We hope this year we’ll manage to sign a free trade agreement,” Garcia de Paredes said, adding Panama was also interested in Russia-produced heavy equipment, trucks and innovative technology.