Lavrov: Russia working to simplify bilateral customs

Other News Materials 2 September 2008 17:24 (UTC +04:00)

The Turkish foreign minister expressed belief on Tuesday that trade problems with Russia would be solved.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said he believed that trade problems between Turkey and Russia would be overcome with a flexible attitude and cooperation of Russia, reported Worldbulletin.

"We discussed in a sincere and constructive way the problems caused by keeping and checking Turkish products at Russian customs gates longer than usual," Babacan told a press conference in the Turkish city of Istanbul with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Speaking in Istanbul, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russian customs authorities were working to simplify their bilateral customs system.

Lavrov added Russia was not discriminating against Turkey in trade relations between the countries which have been hit by a customs dispute.

Babacan defined Turkey and Russia as two neighboring countries, and said that Turkey was seeing Russia as not only a friend and neighbor but also as its main trade and energy partner.

The Turkish foreign minister said that Russia was Turkey's number one trade partner in the first half of 2008 with a trade volume of about 20 billion USD, and appreciated the investments of Turkish businessmen and construction firms in Russia.

Babacan said that the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey was over 2.5 million, and also said that this figure was 1.6 million in the first seven months of 2008.

The foreign minister underlined importance of cooperation in energy, and hoped that new joint projects would be implemented in the future.

"Turkey has a key position in transferring oil and natural gas of Russia and other producer companies in the region to consumer markets safely and economically," he said.

Babacan expressed belief that the cooperation between two countries would contribute to energy supply safety.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is paying one-day formal visit to Turkey. The two ministers had a meeting at an office of the Turkish Prime Ministry in Besiktas, Istanbul.

They discussed regional problems, particularly the Caucasus, Cyprus, Middle East, Iraq and Iran.

Turkey began curbing Russian imports on Monday as tensions over Georgia strained NATO's relations with Moscow.

The measures were in retaliation for delays Turkish exporters have suffered at Russian border crossings since NATO-member Turkey allowed two U.S. ships to transit the Bosphorus Strait to provide aid to Georgia after Moscow's military action there.