President to make visit to Russia

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese will make a four- day visit to Russia next week in a bid to build business links between the countries, it was disclosed yesterday.

During her trip to Moscow and St Petersburg, the President and junior minister Billy Kelleher will lead a trade delegation of 30 Irish companies and agencies.

A spokeswoman said a key element of the programme would focus on encouraging trade and business links.

After arriving on Tuesday evening Mrs McAleese will make a courtesy call on the Mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, before addressing an Enterprise Ireland dinner and a business network breakfast the following morning.

On Wednesday the President, who will be accompanied by her husband Dr Martin McAleese, will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

During the day she will also address a Russia-Ireland Forum on Nanotechnology, meet His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church and attend a performance of traditional Irish music and dance hosted by the Irish Ambassador, Philip McDonagh.

Mrs McAleese will meet Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in the Kremlin on Thursday before she delivers an address, Ireland and Russia in the 21st Century, at the Diplomatic Academy of Foreign Affairs.

That evening she departs for St Petersburg, where she will visit the Memorial to the Siege of Leningrad.

Among her engagements on Friday the President will attend a lunch hosted by the governor of St Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, and visit the State Heritage Museum where she will also attend a performance of Irish music and dance to celebrate the strong cultural links between Ireland and Russia.

Before leaving for Dublin on Saturday she will visit Catherine Palace.


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