Russian President Vladimir Putin at a gathering of Russia's top diplomats and foreign representatives© RIA Novosti. Mikhail Klementiev
MOSCOW, July 9 (RIA Novosti)
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Russia intends to maintain special cooperation with the emerging powers of China and India, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday at a gathering of Russia's top diplomats and foreign representatives.
"Our cooperation with China has the most important strategic and practical importance," Putin said. "We intend to pay special attention to deepening all forms of cooperation with our Chinese partners including coordination of our actions in the agenda of international affairs," he added.
"This also applies to other rapidly developing and increasingly politically important Asian states, including foremost our traditional partner and friend India," Putin said.
"We continue our course of widening cooperation with Latin America and Africa," he added. "Just a few years ago we did not pay enough attention to this," he said.
"Naturally, we will revive our traditional ties with Europe" Putin added. "I remind you: more than a quarter of Russia's external trade takes place with Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands," he said.
"The June summit with the EU confirmed the priority character of Russian-European strategic dialog," he said. "At the same time, the level of cooperation with the EU in our view, has not reached its full potential,"he said.
"Together with Europe we can meet ambitious targets, much more ambitious than today - the creation of a single market from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean with a value of three trillion euros. Life demands movement toward this path," he added.
"There are more grassroots tasks before us, which we must do or we cannot get closer. In particular, easing the visa regime, with a view to a total mutual lifting. Russia is already prepared to make such a move," he said.
European business leaders more often make similar statements about the desirability of such a move, Putin said.
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Earlier this month, Russia hosted the Fourth International Meeting of the Arctic Council at Naryan-Mar, a seaport in the Barents Sea, to discuss issues relating to the infrastructure and safety of ships passing through the Northern Sea Route (NSR).