The agreement on constructing the North European gas pipeline will be signed in the next two to three days, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated today. At a meeting with Russian and German businesspeople in Yekaterinburg, the Russian leader stressed that Germany had been Russia's major foreign trade partner beyond the CIS.
The meeting of Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder with representatives of business circles is taking place within Russian-German consultations. The leaders of the two countries discuss problems of international politics and outlooks for the development of Russian-German economic, trade and security cooperation. It is also planned to make contracts on railroad transportation and other commercial deals between Russian and German companies.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea