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Russia, Nigeria to sign deals during Medvedev's visit


MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Nigeria are expected to sign several bilateral energy and legal deals during President Dmitry Medvedev's visit on Wednesday, a Kremlin aide said.

The country is the second stop on Medvedev's African tour, following a trip to Egypt.

Sergei Prikhodko said the visit, the first to Nigeria by a Russian head of state, will focus on "giving a new impulse to deepening trade and economic cooperation, which is currently well below its potential with Nigeria."

Russia is Nigeria's tenth largest trade partner, with trade of around $300 million per year.

Medvedev will meet with his Nigerian counterpart Umaru Yar'Adua in the capital, Abuja, and the sides are expected to sign a joint communique, Prikhodko said. The countries then plan to sign deals on capital investment protection, extradition, and nuclear power.

The nuclear deal will allow Russia to take part in tenders for the construction of nuclear reactors in Nigeria.

Nigeria, which has recoverable uranium reserves, plans to build its first nuclear power plant in 2017, with generation capacity of between 1-4 GW.

Taking into account Nigeria's membership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the two presidents will also discuss the global energy security and international cooperation to overcome the global economic crisis, Prikhodko said.

Founding papers have been drafted to establish a joint venture between Russian energy giant Gazprom and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

Vladimir Ilyanin, managing director at Gazprom Nigeria, said earlier the Russian gas monopoly could invest some $2.5 billion in the joint venture.

Nigeria is rich in natural resources, including tin, columbite, iron ore and coal. It has 35 billion barrels of explored oil reserves and 4.1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. The country is ranked among the world's top 10 crude exporters, and started exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 1999.

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