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Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov stresses importance of boosting Siberia

By The Siberian Times reporter
05 September 2012

The country's top diplomat denied Moscow was aiming to develop relations in Asia at the expense of contacts with Europe.

Sensational: recently opened bridge to Russky Island in Vladivostok, Russian Far East

But he made clear at the APEC summit in Vladivostok that Russia's unique geography meant using all opportunities to further its interests, whether in the east or west. 

Within this the Russian government attaches great importance to developing Siberia and the Far East, he told reporters. 

'It is in our interests to use Russia's unique geographic, geopolitical, and geo-economic position to its maximum, especially taking into account that the economic and social recovery of Siberia and the Far East are priorities of Russia,' said the foreign minister. 

He stressed that 'the place where the summit is held - Vladivostok, the Straits of Eastern Bosporus - this is the symbolic place where the Euroasian continent and the Pasific region meet each other.  

'We are not talking about any refocusing, because by the twist of will, geography, and history, and the activities of our ancestors, we are already focused on the West and on the East, to the South and to the North.'

Lavrov emphasised: 'We are not saying that we do all of this and forget about everything that happens in our relations with our European and South Asian partners. We want to grow organically and use all their comparative advantages.'

The Foreign Minister is known as an advocate of Siberia and while he is among the most travelled Russians of his generations, he is known to return to Siberia for vacations.

Rafting in the Altai Mountains is said to be one of his loves. 

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