Putin ends foreign contacts as President

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Moscow, Apr 29: Vladimir Putin today closed the schedule of his foreign policy contacts as Russian President after meeting with Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis. Mr Putin's working schedule does not contain any public international meetings before the end of his presidential term on May 7, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

President-elect Dmitry Medvedev will formally be inaugurated on May 7 after which Mr Putin will be sworn-in as Prime Minister on May 8. During his eight years of presidency, Mr Putin held, on average, 145 meetings with representatives of foreign states annually. The archives of the Kremlin's site contains 1,393 speeches by him during foreign policy contacts, the agency said.

Apart from personal meetings, Mr Putin often had phone talks with foreign leaders-- on average more than 100 annually.

Among major international events, Mr Putin more often participated in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summits in various formats. There were 64 such events.

The Russian President has to his credit 17 Russia-EU summits, seven summits with APEC leaders and three UN General Assembly sessions. Besides, he participated in the G-8 summits eight times.

Over the past eight years, Mr Putin made 192 foreign trips, visiting 74 countries, 187 cities, towns and villages.

The greatest number of visits was made to Ukraine (23 visits), Kazakhstan (14) and Germany (13).

Mr Putin went to Belarus ten times, made seven visits to China and was six times in the US. The last year was the most packed with 27 foreign trips.

UNI

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