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Bulgaria/Russia: Trade Talks Begin

Sofia, 10 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Lobov and the head of Gazprom Rem Vyakhirov arrived in Sofia today on a two-day visit. Lobov, who is also co-chair of the Intergovernmental Bulgaria-Russia Commission for Commercial and Scientific-Technical Cooperation, said Bulgaria will profit annually if a gas pipeline through the country is built.

Gazprom and Socialist former prime minister Zhan Videnov had disagreed over the "TopEnergy" joint venture. Videnov insisted Bulgaria be represented in the joint venture by the government, rather than by Multigroup, a private business grouping which the Russians preferred.

During the Lobov visit, talks will focus on Russian credits for Bulgarian nuclear energy, parts and equipment for the nuclear power plant at Kozloduy, military-technical cooperation, and transport ties. Our Sofia correspondent reports Lobov's group also includes representatives of Aeroflot, banks and other business people.