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Russian, Kazakh Leaders Ratify State Borders

Russian President Putin (L) and Kazakh President Nazarbaev in Astana, 12 January (ITAR-TASS) 12 January 2006 -- The Russian and Kazakh presidents have signed an agreement ratifying their borders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that "we often use the word 'historic,' perhaps rendering its meaning trite. But in this case it is true: this is a historic event in relations between our two countries."

Putin was in the Kazakh capital Astana to attend the inauguration of President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who won another seven-year term in elections in December. International observers criticized the vote as deeply flawed.

Putin and Nazarbaev also discussed energy and trade, and signed an agreement to establish a Eurasian development bank.

Nazarbaev said Russia will be the first foreign country that he will visit in his new term.

(ITAR-TASS, Interfax-Kazakhstan, Kazinform)

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