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#13 - JRL 7235

MOSCOW/LONDON, June 22, 2003. /From a RIA Novosti correspondent/. The programme of a state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Britain, which will take place on June 24-27, is packed with cultural and political events, said deputy head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Prikhodko.

He recalled that Putin's visit to the United Kingdom would be the first visit at such a level since Emperor Nicholas 1 visited Britain at the invitation of Queen Victoria in 1844.

Prikhodko said that on the first day of his stay in Britain the Russian head of state would have discussions with leaders of both opposition parties in Britain - head of the conservative faction Ian Duncan Smith and Liberal-Democratic leader Charles Kennedy.

According to the protocol practice of state visits to Britain, on the second day of staying in the country, the distinguished guests will see one of the cities of the United Kingdom, Prikhodko explained. The Russian side had opted for the capital of Scotland - Edinburgh - where on the morning of Wednesday, June 25, the Russian president will go accompanied by Duke of York Andrew.

At Edinburgh, the Putins will inspect the Edinburgh Castle and then Vladimir Putin and the Duke of York will tour the Signet Library where the Russian president will address Scottish political, cultural and academic figures.

Following that, a dinner will be given in honour of the Russian president and his wife in the royal palace Holyroadhouse, after which the guests will see an exhibition of Faberge art in the palace's royal gallery.

On the same day Putin will go back to London, where he will be received in Guildhall, the residence of the London City lord mayor.

On Thursday, June 26, the programme of the day's events will begin with a call by the Russian president and British Prime Minister Tony Blair at a Russian-British energy summit in Lancaster House.

Prior to dinner Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin will also tour two large London sights -St.Paul's Cathedral and the London Tower.

Punctually at midday President Putin together with his wife will arrive at the residence of the British premier at 10 Downing Street. Following lunch, the two leaders will have negotiations in the course of which it is planned to examine the full range of bilateral relations and key international issues. Upon the end of the talks the Russian president and British premier will hold a large news conference for Russian, British and foreign journalists.

Later in the day, Putin, accompanied by Duke of York Andrew, will make a pleasure boat trip down the Thames to see the Russian naval vessel Neustrashimy in the London roadsteads. It arrived in British specially for the state visit of the supreme commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces.

The next planned event will be a visit by the guests to the royal observatory at Greenwich.

On Thursday evening, Putin will give a reciprocal reception in Spencer House in honour of the British Queen, her husband, and other members of the royal family.

On Friday morning, June 27, following a brief parting ceremony with Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in the Buckingham Palace, Putin and his wife will complete the state visit to Britain and fly off from London to Russia.

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