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Kazakhstan, Ukraine Discuss Nuclear Projects

Kazakh Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov (file photo) (epa) December 14, 2006 -- Kazakhstan and Ukraine today said they were interested in developing joint nuclear projects.

Those could include Ukraine's participation in the construction of nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan.

The plans are outlined in a joint statement signed in Astana today by Kazakh Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych.

The two men vowed to boost further bilateral economic ties.

Trade volume between the two countries is expected to reach $1.5 billion this year and Yanukovych said he hoped it would continue to grow in 2007. Akhmetov and Yanukovych also said Kiyv and Astana supported each other's bid to join the World Trade Organization next year.

Yanukovych, who is on a two-day visit to Astana, later met with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Addressing a news briefing after the talks, the Ukrainian prime minister said the sides discussed possible joint projects in the production and transportation of hydrocarbons, and the processing of crude oil.

He also said Kazakhstan had agreed to buy Ukrainian-made Antonov-148 aircraft.

"We discussed the [possibility] of selling our planes to Kazakhstan," Yanukovych said. "In 2007, the first two [An-148] planes will be delivered to Kazakhstan."

Yanukovych, who is traveling with several of his cabinet ministers, is on a two-day visit to the Kazakh capital for talks expected to focus on energy cooperation.

The Ukrainian prime minister also handed Nazarbaev an invitation to visit Kiyv in January.

(Interfax-Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Today,

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