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Hu, Putin Reaffirm Iran Nuclear Stance
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President Hu Jintao and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday reaffirmed their desire for a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue.


Hu and Putin, meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, agreed that relevant parties should "seize the opportunity" to promote a peaceful solution to the stand-off over Iran's nuclear program, referring to the package of incentives offered last week to persuade Teheran to suspend uranium enrichment.


They also agreed that China and Russia would maintain communication and coordination on the issue.


China, Russia, the United States and Europe have reached consensus on the package of incentives, which include an offer to provide Iran with nuclear technology to get it to step away from enriching uranium, and to bring Washington into direct talks with Teheran.


Hu and Putin also discussed bilateral and regional issues during their meeting, calling for closer cooperation between China and Russia.


They agreed to strengthen cooperation within the SCO framework, and to promote the implementation of the consensus reached at this summit to foster better development of the organization.


Hu said he looks forward to the signing of a proposed 2006-10 roadmap for China-Russia trade and economic cooperation, which has set the target of bilateral trade volume at US$60-80 billion by 2010.


The two countries should continue to optimize trade structure, improve trade regulation, and enhance the legal environment that protects mutual investment, said Hu.


Putin said China and Russia enjoy many promising cooperative projects, and he expected the two sides to strengthen cooperation in such fields as trade, energy, machinery and electronics, and environmental protection.


Trade between China and Russia reached US$29.1 billion in 2005, jumping 37.1 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.


In a move to solidify friendship between the two peoples, China is hosting the "Year of Russia in China" this year and Russia is to host the "Year of China in Russia" next year, which involve a series of cultural exchanges designed to increase mutual understanding.


Hu and Putin attended the signing of a number of bilateral cooperation deals after the meeting. The two presidents are to meet again next month at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.


(China Daily June 16, 2006)

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