Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday will hold talks with the leadership of Colombia, the first country on his Latin American tour.

He is planning to meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez.

"Colombia for us is one of the authoritative partners in Latin America," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko underlined, "Russian-Colombia ties are characterized by a high level and trusting political dialogue, which is a reliable basis for ensuring a steady and complex development of bilateral relations."

"The positions of Russia and Colombia are close or coincide on many pressing international problems. Both countries stand for the establishment of a democratic multi-polar world order on the basis of principles of international law, respect for sovereignty and taking into account the legitimate interests of all countries; the two countries are also convinced of the necessity to strengthen the UN authority.

"The proximity of approaches may serve as good groundwork for further development of cooperation between our countries in such fields as the fight against international terrorism, organized crime and illegal drug turnover.

"In the course of the upcoming Russian-Colombian talks, the parties will focus on the development of trade and economic relations," the sposkesman said.

Trade turnover between Russia and Colombia made up 258.7 million dollars last t year. The intergovernmental economic cooperation commission is expected to give a significance impulse to the development of cooperation. Its next meeting is due in Bogota in 2009.

A number of Russian companies are successfully operating in Colombia, including LUKOIL, which is implementing the Condor project (prospecting for oil and oil production.). Technopromexport, another Russian company, is bolstering its presence on the local market. "There''s serious potential for intensifying cooperation in electric power generation, mechanical engineering, car-making and agriculture," the diplomat said.

At their meeting during a UN General Assembly session in September, Lavrov and Bermudez stated their countries’ readiness to expand practical cooperation in various spheres. Also, they stated the closeness of their approaches to the bulk of key international problems.