Russian PM upbeat about economic session with Ukraine

10:25, 22 September 2006
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Ukrainian, Russian PMs meeting today

Preparations for a session of a Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation are proceeding well, Russia`s prime minister said Friday, according to RIA Novosti.

Mikhail Fradkov is meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych Friday to sum up the results of preliminary work, outline plans for the next two-three weeks and agree on the deadline for the completion of preparations for a session of the intergovernmental commission.

"This is our second meeting this month, which proves that we have stepped up preparations for the first session of the intergovernmental commission," Fradkov said as the meeting started.

The meeting is part of Yanukovych`s first official visit to Russia since he took office in August, and natural gas and oil supplies, electric energy and trade restrictions will top the agenda of the meeting.

The two former Soviet stable mates have endured some stormy episodes in the last few years. During a price spat with Ukraine in January, Russia briefly cut off gas supplies to its neighbor, and later Russian energy giant Gazprom accused Ukraine of siphoning off Europe-bound gas during the halt in supplies. The situation aroused concerns in Europe about Russia`s reliability as a gas supplier.

"We have issues to discuss today," Yanukovych said. "Our sub-commissions have prepared proposals, although some differences remain."

He said preparations should be completed and the date of the session should be fixed in October, which he said would be the final stage of preparations for an inter-state Yushchenko-Putin commission, a body set up by national leaders Viktor Yushchenko and Vladimir Putin to promote good relations between the countries.

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