Russia’s President Medvedev on Asia Tour Ahead of G8

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev embarked on a weeklong tour of Asia that takes in four countries, a G8 summit and meetings with a number of foreign leaders, a Kremlin spokesman said. Sergei Prikhodko said the tour begins with a visit to Azerbaijan, where Medvedev will hold negotiations with President Ilkham Aliyev and religious community leaders.

On Friday, the Russian head of state moves on to Ashgabat, where Russian-Turkmen negotiations will be held.

On Saturday, Medvedev arrives in Kazakhstan, where he will meet with President Nursultan Nazarbayev and also King Abdullah II of Jordan and Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

Prikhodko said Medvedev might have a meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Astana, on the sidelines of an official ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Kazakh capital.

"Even if there is no bilateral meeting, there will certainly be bilateral contacts," the spokesman said.

From Kazakhstan, the Russian president will go to Japan, where he will attend the G8 summit on Hokkaido on July 7-9 and hold a number of bilateral meetings with G8 leaders.

The Kremlin said Medvedev is to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

He may also meet with the Italian prime minister and the Indian and Brazilian presidents.