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Putin And Mubarak Discuss Trade, Middle East

Putin (left) and Mubarak in the Kremlin on November 2 (ITAR-TASS) November 2, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Kremlin today to discuss trade and ways to restart the Middle East peace process.

"We had an opportunity with [Mubarak] to discuss in detail different aspects of our cooperation and, above all, the sensitive issues on the international agenda," Putin said. "At the same time, Egypt is in itself of enormous interest to us and one of the priorities in our foreign policy. Egypt remains one of our most important partners in the Arabic and Islamic world."

Mubarak said after the talks that Egypt's aim was to strengthen ties, especially economic cooperation.

Russian officials say trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $1.6 billion in 2005 and has grown by 52 percent so far this year. Russia also hopes to win an international tender for building nuclear power stations in Egypt.

Russia is part of the diplomatic Middle East Quartet of powers charged with settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict along with the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States.

(compiled from agency reports)

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