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#2 - JRL 7002
Putin travelling schedules to be strenuous in 2003.
January 2, 2002

President Vladimir Putin will continue to travel a lot in 2003, both about Russia and abroad. He has made some air trips and has spent about a month and a half on board a plane since he became president.

One has every reason to suppose that the number of trips made by the President will grow, along with the coming closer of the next presidential elections, which are scheduled for March 2004. Putin is to accept at least some of the invitations, extended to him by Russians during the TV and radio dialogue, which was held in December. It is quite probable that the President will visit some places, which he has not visited so far, including remote ones. The holding by the President of meetings with local officials right in the regions became a working routine in 2002. The latest of such meetings was held in Ryazan, where a conference on social and economic problems of the Central Federal District was held in November under the chairmanship of the President. Similar conferences were held in other federal districts too, with the exception of the Urals Federal District. The State Council may hold more visiting sessions in 2003, similar to those held in 2002.

The first working trip of the President in 2003 may take place in January. A meeting of CIS leaders is planned to be held in Ukraine. During 2003 Putin is going to attend summits of some other regional organisations, of which CIS member states are members, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty. The second meeting of five Caspian states may be held in 2003, most probably, in Iran.

In January President Putin is going to attend a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Russia-Belarus Union in Minsk. He and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko agreed about it at their meeting, held in Moscow last November.

Putin is going to attend in 2003 a G8 summit in Evian, France, as well as a summit meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Community in Thailand.

The President's schedule of bilateral meetings with foreign leaders is also going to be strenuous. The first in 2003 will be a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who will come to Moscow for a visit. The two leaders will adopt a joint plan of actions for the development of cooperation on the results of the talks. Putin plans to visit France and Britain and to open the year of Russia in Germany. St. Petersburg will become a venue of Putin's meetings with foreign leaders in May. During celebrations on the occasion of its 300th anniversary, St. Petersburg will become the capital of the world.

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