Belfast Telegraph

McAleese aims to build Russia links

President Mary McAleese will make a four-day visit to Russia next week to try to build business links with Ireland.

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 will focus on encouraging trade and business links.

On Tuesday evening Ms McAleese will visit the mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, and will address an Enterprise Ireland dinner and then the following morning will attend a business network breakfast.

On Wednesday the President will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. During the day she will address a Russia-Ireland forum on nanotechnology, meet Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox church and will attend an Irish music and dance event hosted by Irish Ambassador Philip McDonagh.

Ms McAleese meets Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in the Kremlin on Thursday. She will then address the Diplomatic Academy of Foreign Affairs on the subject of Ireland and Russia in the 21st Century.

That evening she will be in St Petersburg to visit the memorial to the Siege of Leningrad.

On Friday Ms McAleese is to attend a lunch hosted by St Petersburg governor Valentina Matvienko and will visit the State Heritage Museum.

Before leaving for Dublin on Saturday she is scheduled to visit Catherine Palace.

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