Moscow and Paris point to considerable improvement of bilateral relations of late

In the past six months relations between Russia and France have considerably improved. This statement was made in Paris by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov after his meeting with French President Jacques Chirac in Palais de l'Elysee.

According to the Prime Minister, the meeting was interesting, and during it the sides discussed "a broad range of international problems and issues of boosting bilateral relations in different spheres." Mikhail Kasyanov said that in the course of the negotiations with the head of the French state the sides pointed to an increased efficiency of bilateral relations at all levels - "between the Presidents of the two countries, the governments and the members of the Cabinets of Ministers." This cooperation "has assumed an absolutely different form, underscored the Russian Prime Minister, and is now bringing specific results - in the international arena, for instance, in the drafting of UN Security Council Resolution No. 1441 on the situation concerning Iraq, in countering international terrorism, and in the most important economic questions of cooperation between Russia and France." Last week, said Kasyanov, the French-Russian Council for Security held its first session in Paris. It was attended by the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the two countries: Igor Ivanov, Sergei Ivanov, Dominique de Villepin and Michele Alliot-Marie. They discussed the counteraction to possible threats to the national security of the two countries.

According to Mikhail Kasyanov, on Monday, he and his French counterpart Jean-Pierre Raffarin will discuss in Toulouse "the future of a broad range of economic relations between France and Russia, first of all in the most promising sphere of high-tech production and advance technologies - the aerospace sphere." Special attention will also be paid to cooperation between Russia and France in deliveries of Russian energy sources to France and other countries of the European Union, as well as the construction of the North European gas pipeline from Russia to the European continent.

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