Russia and China are on the verge of signing a major oil deal that will nearly double trade exchanges between the two sides by 2005, Beijing's new ambassador to Moscow said on Thursday.
The deal between the Russian oil major Yukos, the national pipeline monopoly Transneft and a Chinese energy concern is likely be signed during next week's visit to Moscow by Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, ambassador Zhang Deguang said.
The pipeline, to be completed by 2005, will run from Russia's Siberian region of Irkutsk to Daling in northeastern China, Zhang said.
It will boost annual trade by six billion dollars (6.6 billion euros) more than the total of eight billion dollars recorded last year, the ambassador said.
"Both sides have agreed to sign the contract for the pipeline," Zhang said.
The Chinese delegation and Yukos officials will sign "a very specific and important document," during Zhu's September 7-12 visit, Zhang said.
A framework agreement for the deal was signed during last month's visit to Russia by Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, and has been under negotiation for more than two years -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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