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Russian leader, Belgian prince set to discuss economic ties

MOSCOW, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin will meet Friday with Prince Philippe of Belgium to discuss bilateral economic cooperation, including in the energy sector, aerospace and the pharmaceutical industry.

The Belgian crown prince arrived in Moscow on June 26 on a working visit as head of a business delegation to review the prospects of regional interaction and the implementation of bilateral agreements.

The main goal of the visit is to study the further development of bilateral economic, investment, scientific and regional ties, to share experience in business activities on the Russian and Belgian markets and to conclude contracts in a variety of spheres, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

The Belgian delegation includes federal and regional economic ministers, heads of regional administrations, and businessmen.

It is the fourth visit of a Belgian business mission to Russia since 1992. During a visit to Russia in December 2004, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht said Belgian exports to Russia totaled 1.3 billion euro in 2003. They increased by 23% in 2004. Russian exports to Belgium were almost twice as high and grew by 37% in 2004.

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