Source Pravda.Ru

Russia's Prime Minister to hold talks with his Finnish counterpart

Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has left for Finland on Thursday to hold talks with his Finnish counterpart Paavo Lipponen and to take part in the opening ceremony of the Salla international car checkpoint, said a source at the Department of Government Information.

Moreover, the Russian Premier is expected to take part in the opening ceremony of the customs complex at the crossing point.

RIA Novosti learned from the delegation source that is accompanying the Russian premier, that Kasyanov and Lipponen will be negotiating at Luosto, Finnish Lapland. The heads of the government will be considering a few joint projects, future Russia's admission to the World Trade Organisation, exchanging opinion on the situation around the Baltic countries and their observance of human rights. The Kaliningrad issue (Kaliningrad is Russia's enclave in the West), and the issues on Russia-EU cooperation will be in the focus of their attention.

Among the joint projects to be discussed is the tender for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Finland. At the present moment four power blocks are operating in Finland, two of which were built by the Soviet Union. The tender for the construction of the power station is scheduled for autumn 2002.

Kasyanov and Lipponen are expected to discuss the plans of the construction of a gas pipeline that will go along the bed of the Finnish Gulf and the Baltic Sea. The new gas pipeline will make it possible to transport 18.7 million cubic metres of gas annually.

RIA Novosti learned from the delegation source that the Heads of Government will be discussing cooperation in the nature protection sphere. They recalled that Finland had invested 10 million euros in the construction of purification facilities in St. Petersburg. The issue of the building of an oil skimmer ship at Russia's shipyards that will be financed by Finland will be also on the agenda.

Among other issues to be discussed will be the construction of a high-speed railway between St. Petersburg and Helsinki.

The Head of the Russian Government is expected to return to Moscow on September 28.

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