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Angela Merkel and Putin (right) in Tomsk on April 26 (epa) April 27, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today called upon German companies to invest in Siberia.

Addressing a Russian-German business forum in the central Siberian city of Tomsk, Putin praised the economic potential of the region, saying that it has vast natural and scientific resources.

Putin also said Russia was prepared to reimburse all of its debt to the Paris Club of creditor nations by the end of this year.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also attending the forum, where she and Putin are due to preside over the signing of several bilateral documents later today. Both leaders are also due to discuss the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

(ITAR-TASS, RIA Novosti, AFP)
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