Russian defense minister meets French foreign minister

On Monday Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov and French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin discussed the mechanism of the Russian-French Security Council.

During the meeting in the Russian defense ministry the parties discussed bilateral cooperation in a wide range of security problems, as well as functioning of the Security Council set up by the two presidents' decision.

Pointing out the importance of the Council, Sergei Ivanov stressed that "on the whole the mechanism is already created, and the defense ministry is ready to take an active part in the process and to work in the format of four." On the approval of the Russian and French presidents, the Security Council includes the two countries' foreign and defense ministers.

Today "no inner political reasons prevent Russian-French cooperation from developing and deepening," Ivanov said.

Dominique de Villepin on his part pointed out that France was determined "to give a new impulse to its relations with Russia." "France and Europe need a strong, stable and prosperous Russia," he stressed.

The Sochi meeting of the two presidents, scheduled for July 19th-20th, will become "a clear demonstration of the political will to develop relations between the countries at a new-quality level," the French minister believes.

Ivanov and de Villepin said they were ready to discuss all issues of interest to both parties, as well as all international and regional security problems.

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