President Vladimir Putin received Jean Chretien, ex-prime minister of Canada, in the Kremlin on Monday.
"You are going to visit Kazakhstan and Ukraine to discuss bilateral cooperation issues and cooperation in the multilateral format," Mr. President said.
Mr. Putin said he had met incumbent Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin at the G8 summit on Sea Island, the U.S., recently. The president believes Mr. Martin is set to take advantage of what has already been achieved in bilateral relations.
Mr. Chretien was pleased by the fact that the Russian president was receiving him as an ordinary citizen of Canada. He said he visited Moscow more frequently than other cities.
Mr. Chretien said he made his first visit to Russia in 1971 as minister of northern development. He said he was the only politician who staged a marathon in the Lena river at the time.
Mr. Chretien recalled that he had met ex-president Boris Yeltsin at the G8 summit in Halifax and Vladimir Putin at Kananaskis. The ex-premier suggested discussing economic and political issues proceeding from those meetings.
When speaking about the political situation in Canada, Mr. Chretien said the government had remained practically intact as his party had won the election already for the fourth time. Mr. Chretien was hopeful his experience would be helpful to the incumbent government.