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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Make High-Tech Fair Debut

ReutersNaryshkin and Merkel arriving Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the CeBIT technology trade fair in Hannover.
HANNOVER, Germany -- President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to foster high-tech business ties with western partners to underline his country's role as a "reliable trading and business partner."

"I am convinced that Russia's participation" at the Hannover, Germany-based CeBIT technology trade show "will outline the competitive advantages of our country as a reliable trading and business partner," Putin said Thursday in a message to German Chancellor Angela Merkel read out at the fair by IT and Communications Minister Leonid Reiman.

Merkel, who late Wednesday opened the world's biggest technology show featuring more than 6,000 companies from 77 countries, said Russia's first-ever participation at CeBit "is a good opportunity for the modern Russia to present itself."

The German leader, who grew up in East Germany, spoke some Russian when welcoming Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin and Reiman at Russia's CeBIT stand Thursday.

Merkel said Thursday that she hoped the March 15-21 CeBIT show would help bring about "completely new contacts" with Russia, which is this year's "partner" nation, with 126 exhibitors spread around the fair's 26 pavilions. CeBIT will help develop "an insight" into Russian research and development activities, Merkel said.

"We know Russia as an exporter of oil and gas but haven't come across it yet as a high-tech nation," Merkel said. "This is a chance for Russia. It's also a chance for new cooperation."

Putin agreed, judging from the statement read out by Reiman, which said: "It's the information and communication technologies that now in many ways determine the dynamics of economic growth."