Vietnamese PM to Visit Russia, Eastern Europe

Viet Nam's prime minister is due to visit his Russian counterpart from Sunday and will travel on to two formerly communist allies in eastern Europe -- Poland and the Czech Republic.

The trip by PM Nguyen Tan Dung aims to revitalise economic links with Moscow, Prague and Warsaw that have ebbed in the post-cold war era.

The Russia visit, at the invitation of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, follows a Hanoi trip last year by President Vladmir Putin and a team of energy and bank executives in which both sides agreed to boost joint oil and gas projects.

Russia is also among the contenders to help Viet Nam exploit its mineral resources, to fuel Viet Nam's rapid economic growth and its energy demand, which is rising by about 15 percent a year.

Vietgazprom, a joint venture of state-run PetroVietnam and Russian gas giant Gazprom, has recently discovered a natural gas field off Viet Nam's coast in the Eastern Sea, the Tass news agency reported.

The world's largest aluminium producer Rusal, owned by tycoon Oleg Deripaska, is in talks to build a bauxite mine and an aluminium smelter in Vietnam, the company reportedly said in August.

Rusal and the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group were considering building rail and port infrastructure and develop bauxite deposits in central Tay Nguyen province, Vietnamese state media reported.

After leaving Moscow, PM Ngueyn Tan Dung  will on September 12 and 13 visit Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, with whom he pledged a year ago to boost bilateral cooperation, especially in economics, science and technology, education and training.

The Czech Republic has been active in Viet Nam in waste management,   restoring polluted areas, and handling Viet Nam War-era Agent Orange contamination under a non-refundable aid programme.

In September 2006 Czech President Vaclav Klaus visited Vietnam.

PM Nguyen Tan Dung will visit Poland on September 14 and 15.

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