Russian Prime Minister to negotiate with his French counterpart

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who is leaving for St. Petersburg today, will negotiate with his French counterpart Jean-Pierre Raffarin there. Raffarin has arrived on a working visit in Russia.

According to the Russian government-information department, both men will mostly discuss prospects for bilateral trade-and-economic cooperation. Kasyanov and Raffarin are to focus on aerospace partnership, first and foremost.

The Prime Ministers of Russia and France are to attend the opening of a research center in St. Petersburg. This center will house the library of the famous humanist Voltaire that was bought by Empress Catherine The Great in the late 18-th century.

Both Prime Ministers are to visit an international naval show in St. Petersburg June 29, with Kasyanov returning to Moscow that same day.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian-French trade turnover had totalled $4.6 billion last year. As of late 2002, the French side had channelled $3.4 billion worth of investment into the Russian economy. France ranks among Russia's ten most important trade partners.

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