Vladimir Putin appears in public after 10-day absence

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday met Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna near St. Petersburg, Tass news agency reported.

The meeting between the two presidents comes amid rumours spread by media reports that the Russian leader could be ill as he was not seen in public for the last 10 days.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has repeatedly rejected the reports, joking that those spreading them may be hit by "spring fever".

This is the second meeting of the leaders since the beginning of 2015.

Earlier on Monday, the Kremlin press service said the agenda of Monday's meeting would include "key issues of further strengthening of Russian-Kyrgyz cooperation, primarily in trade-and-investment and cultural-and-humanitarian areas, and in the energy sector".

"It is also planned to exchange views on cooperation in the context of Kyrgyzstan’s joining the Eurasian Economic Union," the press service added.

In their previous meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi in early February, the Russian president said Kyrgyzstan was one of Russia’s strategic partners in Central Asia.

"Kyrgyzstan attaches great significance to the development of relations with its key strategic partner, Russia. Our republic’s joining the Eurasian Economic Union will open broad perspectives for extending bilateral ties in various spheres," Atambayev said back then.

Last week, Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Dzhoomart Otorbayev said his country planned to become a full-fledged member of the Eurasian Economic Union by May 9.

The Eurasian Economic Union, an international economic integration association, came into existence on January 1, 2015. It includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, which joined it later. Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement on accession to the Eurasian Economic Union in December 2014. To be granted a full-fledged membership in the organisation, Kyrgyzstan plans to settle all technical issues by May.

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