Presidents of Russia and France to Adopt Joint Statement on Strategic Questions

Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac plan to adopt a joint statement on strategic questions.

As has become known from diplomatic sources in Moscow that this document will focus on the positions of Russia and France with regard to the Iraqi crisis.

The views of Moscow and Paris on this question coincide in many respects. Thus, the two countries, being permanent members of the UN Security Council, consistently come out for a political and diplomatic settlement of the situation around Iraq, in the belief that the solution to the problem with the use of force is an extreme measure. Both Russia and France consider it important to give the international inspectors in Iraq the necessary time to conclude their work.

Of late, Russian-French cooperation in international affairs "has acquired a new quality." "Russia and France have gone over from coordinating their positions to concerted actions on major problems of the world policy," pointed out the sources.

They underscored that "this could be seen especially clearly in the complicated discussion that arose in the UN Security Council during the adoption of Resolution 1441 on Iraq." Apparently, the joint statement will also reflect the positions of Moscow and Paris on questions of international anti-terrorist cooperation, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the ways to settle the situation in the Middle East and also in the Balkans and in the Korean peninsula.

Deputy head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Prikhodko said that all these themes would be seriously considered at the negotiations between the leaders of Russia and France in discussing the development of the strategic situation in the world.

Apart from that, the Presidents of the two countries will discuss the relations of Russia with the European Union and cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the Group of Eight Countries of which France is the chair country this year. The G-8 summit will take place in Evian (France) in early June.

On the whole, the Kremlin sources added, all international questions will be discussed in Paris more broadly than in Berlin.

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