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Tatar Official Wants U.S. Consulate In Kazan

Farit Mukhametshin seeks greater cooperation with the U.S. on the regional level.
WASHINGTON -- Tatarstan's State Council speaker, Farit Mukhametshin, says a U.S. Consulate should be opened in Kazan, the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Mukhametshin told RFE/RL in Washington, where he is leading a parliamentary delegation from Tatarstan on an official visit, that the Cold War era is "behind us, and we should strengthen Tatarstan-U.S relations using new opportunities."

He said the opening of a U.S. Consulate in Kazan "could move our relations to a new level."

Mukhametshin also said that since U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have decided to "reset" U.S.-Russian relations, it should be done on various levels, including an expansion of the links between U.S. states and Russian regions.

Mukhametshin said the main goal of his delegation is to establish business and cultural relations between the state of New York and Tatarstan.

Mukhametshin said he held talks in Washington with officials from the State Department and the National Security Council.

Currently, only Turkey and Iraq have consulates in Kazan.