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Medvedev arrives in Mongolia

ULAN BATOR, Aug 25 – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Mongolia on Tuesday for a two-day visit focused on sealing a series of investment deals including one on a joint venture in uranium mining.

Medvedev’s trip comes just three months after his Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited the resource-rich former Soviet satellite, which has vast copper, coal and gold deposits, as Russia seeks to revive its influence here.

The Russian president and his Mongolian counterpart Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on Tuesday were due to hold official talks and sign a series of agreements before addressing the press, the Kremlin said.

Mongolian Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold said in an interview with local newspaper Mongolia Segodnya that the two presidents would sign an agreement to create a company to mine and process uranium.

Ahead of Medvedev’s visit, Mongolian state television reported that Ulan Bator is also hoping to negotiate a cut in the price of oil and gas, almost of all which it imports from Russia.

During Putin’s visit in May, the two sides reached deals on improving the efficiency of Mongolia’s creaking rail network and cooperating on coal and copper prospecting, officials said.

Russian railways chief Vladimir Yakunin estimated the joint projects to be worth seven billion dollars.

Russian companies are seeking better access to the vast Tavan Tolgoi coal field and the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposit near Mongolia’s border with China.

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Medvedev and Elbegdorj also will kick off two days of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of a battle in which Soviet forces defeated Japanese troops on the eve of World War II.

"We will always remember that it is with the help of the Soviet soldiers that Mongolia asserted its freedom and independence back then," said Batbold.

The leaders will bestow medals on veterans from both countries, officials said.

According to official estimates, more than 18,500 Soviet and Mongolian soldiers died in a massive tank battle with the Japanese near the Khalkhyn Gol river in 1939. Japan lost about 60,000 soldiers.

In honour of Medvedev, Mongolia will also stage the Naadam festival featuring horse racing, wrestling and archery in the steppe outside the capital Ulan Bator.

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