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`Russia, India, China share common interest'

Vladimir Radyuhin

Natwar Singh in Vladivostok for meeting

VLADIVOSTOK: Russia, India and China share a common interest in promoting growth and stability in the Asian region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said here.

The choice of venue for the trilateral meeting ``reflects a shared desire to cooperate in stabilising the economic development and strengthening security in the region," Mr. Lavrov said as he met with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing here on Wednesday.

External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh arrived here on Wednesday evening. Apart from a trilateral meeting on Thursday he is also scheduled to have bilateral meetings with the Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers. Experts said energy issues were likely to dominate the agenda of trilateral talks. India and China are both keen to get access to Russian energy.

``It is in Russia's interests to avoid rivalry over oil reserves between its two strategic allies in the region — China and India — and harmonise their quest for Russian hydrocarbons,'' an informed Russian source at the talks told The Hindu .

It will be the fourth trilateral meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers of India, Russia and China and the first stand-alone meeting. During their last meeting in Almaty (Kazakhstan) in 2004 the three sides agreed to push for trilateral cooperation in energy and in promoting security and stability in Central Asia.

``All these issues will be on the agenda for the June 2 meeting in Vladivostok,'' Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev said in the run-up to the meeting.

United Nations Security Council reform is another hot issue the three Ministers will discuss. Russia's Foreign Minister said he saw eye to eye on this problem with his Chinese counterpart.

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