PM Lee begins 4-day work visit to Russia today

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong begins a four-day working visit to the Russian Federation today.

He will then travel to the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Thursday to attend the ASEAN-Russia Commemorative Summit.

The trip is PM Lee's first bilateral visit to Russia. The last such visit by a Singapore prime minister was by the late Lee Kuan Yew, who visited the then USSR in September 1990.

In a statement yesterday, the Prime Minister's Office said that in Moscow, PM Lee will have a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) chairman Tigran Sargsyan and senior government officials. He will also meet leading Russian business executives and entrepreneurs, and members of the Singapore community in Moscow.

The EEC is the regulatory body of the Eurasian Economic Union, which groups Russia and the former Soviet states of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in a market of 180 million people, with a total gross domestic product of US$4.2 trillion (S$5.7 trillion).

Singapore and Russia agreed to negotiate a comprehensive free-trade agreement between Singapore and the Eurasian Economic Union in November, and this visit is expected to see the signing of an agreement to promote greater co-operation between Singapore and the EEC, as well as its five members.

PM Lee will then fly to Sochi on Thursday for the ASEAN-Russia Commemorative Summit to mark the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-Russia relations. Leaders of the 10 ASEAN members will review the ASEAN-Russia co-operation.

PM Lee will also call on Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit, which comes three months after United States President Barack Obama hosted ASEAN leaders to a Special Leaders' Summit in Sunnylands, California.

During PM Lee's absence, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be the Acting Prime Minister.

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