On Monday the agricultural ministries of France and Russia have concluded an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of development of the meat stock raising. Now 500 head of French meat cattle will be brought to the Tyumen region in Siberia very soon. Andrei Zhuravlev, chairman of the interregional Russian fund for the development of meat animal farming, said that this agreement opens a new page of agricultural cooperation between the two countries. The agreement is a "concrete step towards implementation of a long-term programme of cooperation in the field of meat stock raising, which Russian Premier Mikhail Kasyanov and his French counterpart Lionel Jospin agreed upon during his recent official visit to Moscow", stressed Zhuravlev. He noted that this cooperation programme is designed for more than ten years. Every year up Russian regions will buy up to 10,000 head of meat cattle in France. To this effect the French government opened an average-term credit line for Russian buyers. During three years after purchase of French cattle, they will get relative veterinary, technical and other after-sale guarantees. Cooperation between France and Russia in the field of meat animal farming has been developing since 1998. In the opinion of representatives of the Russian delegation, it "will permit to considerably downsize the import of meat by Russia. Today every third kilogramme of beef consumed by Russians is foreign".
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated