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Putin arrives in Bulgaria for visit
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-01-18 14:47
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Sofia Thursday evening on a two-day official visit at the invitation of his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Purvanov.

The wife of the Russian President, Lyudmila Putina, did not arrive with him. According to diplomatic sources, health reasons prevented her from accompanying Putin on his visit to Bulgaria.

On Thursday evening, Putin will unveil the Year of Russia in Bulgaria at a gala concert in Sofia's National Palace of Culture, where eminent Russian performers will show wonderful performance.

The official part of his visit will kick off on Friday, when he will meet with his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Parvanov, Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev and Parliament Speaker Georgi Pirinski.

During the visit, Bulgaria will seal a deal with Atomstroy export, controlled by Russian monopoly Gazprom, to build Bulgaria's new nuclear power plant Belene and host the official signing of the contract establishing the company that will design and build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, in which Russian firms own a majority 51 percent stake.

These deals will further strengthen the energy ties between Russia and Bulgaria.

This is Putin's second trip to Bulgaria, which he has previously visited in March 2003, and its agenda and timing send out a strong message of Moscow's interest in Bulgaria and its energy sector.

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