St. Petersburg, 19th June 2010 (MIA) – Macedonian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Zoran Stavreski and Russian Deputy Minister of Finance Dmitry Pankin signed the Clearing Debt Agreement.


– By signing this Agreement, decade-long issue burdening the relations in the economic sphere is closed, and I believe this will improve economic and energy cooperation between both countries, Stavreski said after the signing ceremony.


Having in mind the Agreement, regulating the settlement of the debt of the former Soviet Union to former Yugolsavija, Macedonia receives US$ 60 million, to be used for implementation of the Gasification Project of the country.


– Thus, we practically obtain opportunity for intensified cooperation with the Russian Federation and an important partner such as “Gazprom”, global energy giant, which will help us to more quickly realize the Gasification Project. I believe Macedonia will be placed on the international energy map in near future, Stavreski pointed out.


Realization of the Gasification Project in Macedonia will cost EUR 300 million, total EUR 62 million out of which will be covered with clearing debt funds and the Macedonian government in the first phase.


In addition, as agreed with "Gazprom” representatives, it is envisaged for one branch of the Trans-European “South Stream” gas pipeline to pass through Macedonia, as well as for the Russian energy giant to participate in the construction of gas power plants and possible transformation of TPP "Negotino” in gas power plant.


Russian Deputy Minister Pankin pointed out that signing this Agreement opens opportunities to boost the economic cooperation between Macedonia and Russia in several sectors in the coming period.


Many Macedonian companies are now present on the Russian market, mainly in the field of wine production, tobacco products, pharmaceutical, food and canning industry and construction. At the moment, Russian-Macedonian cooperation is mostly oriented towards purchase of Macedonian early season vegetables and fruit, peaches and apples, being afterwards marketed in Russia. In cooperation with the tour operators with regular charter flights, around 2,000 Russian tourists are expected to visit Macedonia this summer, and there are also possibilities for Macedonian sweet wine to be used in the church ceremonies in the Russian Orthodox Church as of September.


The Agreement was signed during the working visit of the Macedonian delegation to Russia headed by president Gorge Ivanov, which ended today.


Yesterday, Ivanov met Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, discussing the opportunities for improving economic relations between Macedonia and Russia and potentials for opening the Russian market for Macedonian products. Abolishment of visas for Russian citizens when entering Macedonia was also discussed at the meeting, whereby Ivanov informed his Russian counterpart that Macedonia is willing to undertake such step, thus additionally intensifying and strengthening bilateral relations. (MIA)


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