Russia regards Lebanon as a friendly country with which it has been long maintaining good relations, said Russian president Vladimir Putin when opening negotiations with Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in the Kremlin on Friday. He pointed out that since the latest visit of Hariri to Moscow many goals set then have been already achieved. In particular, a firm legal basis of cooperation between the two countries has been worked out. Vladimir Putin also expressed confidence that the visit of the Lebanese premier will be an additional impetus to the development of business cooperation in the tactical sphere. In his turn, Rafiq Hariri said he has brought with him the greetings from the president, people and parliament of Lebanon. The premier pointed out that Lebanon regards Russia as a friendly state which supported it during a period of crisis. According to him, Lebanon is striving to develop relations with Russia in economic, political and cultural spheres. Hariri also stressed that about 1,000 people who live in Lebanon speak Russian. One part of them studied in Russia, and the other in the republics of the former Soviet Union. This creates the basis for cooperation, the premier said.