I intend to visit Russia in mid-September. The invitation to visit was conveyed by the then Russian Prime Minister Primakov when I met him in Shannon last March. Prime Minister Stepashin has renewed the invitation. While the programme for the visit is still developing at this point, it is likely that I will meet Prime Minister Stepashin on 14 September. In addition, I would hope to meet with President Yeltsin and other important political figures. This will be the first official visit to Russia from Ireland at Head of Government level, although Ireland has had diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation and previously with the Soviet Union for more than 25 years. Relations with Russia have been of significant economic benefit to Ireland. I would hope that this visit will serve to consolidate those relations and provide a basis for their future development. I expect to be accompanied by a business delegation.
It is also possible that I will attend a meeting of Heads of State and Government during the summer to discuss the EU's stability pact for South East Europe. The proposal for this summit was put forward by the German Presidency in recent days, but the arrangements have not yet been put in place. The summit may take place in July.