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SINGAPORE, May 14. /TASS/. Singapore appreciates Russia’s participation in regional affairs and its contribution to ensuring stability in Southeast Asia, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an exclusive interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman.
"We very much value Russia as a participant in regional affairs and a constructive contributor to stability and peace in the region," Lee said ahead of his visit to Russia and attending the Russia - ASEAN summit in Sochi. He described bilateral relations and ties of Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as "very good."
The prime minister said Russia is "an important power in economy in the world." "I think that the economic ties between ASEAN countries and Russia have been growing." In terms of economic cooperation, there is a lot more potential for growth, he added.
He also reminded that the Eurasian Economic Union has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam. "By strengthening the ties between Russia and individual ASEAN countries we can strengthen the ties between Russia and Southeast Asia as a whole."
The Russia - ASEAN summit will be held in Sochi on May 19-20 and will become the biggest international event in Russia in 2016. The summit will be 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.
Russia has been a dialog partner of ASEAN since July 1996. 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 full version of the interview will be aired on the Rossiya 24 TV channel in the release of the "Formula of Power" program and published on the TASS website.