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Cooperation Is Essential, Putin Tells Kyrgyzstan --> Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) speaks with Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev during their April 24 meeting in the Kremlin (epa) April 24, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today underlined the importance that Russia attaches to relations with Kyrgyzstan after meeting with the Central Asian republic's president, Kurmanbek Bakiev, in Moscow.

Putin, who described the situation in Kyrgyzstan as "quite difficult" with "many problems in the social field and in the economy," said that "cooperation between our countries has always been an important factor in the development of both countries."

Bakiev is scheduled to hold talks with other Russian officials later on April 24. This is Bakiev's first state visit to Russia since he took power in March 2005 after mass protests ousted his predecessor, Askar Akaev.


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