French foreign ministry describes current France-Russia relations as superb

The French foreign ministry has described current relations between France and Russia as superb, Francois Rivasseau, an official foreign ministry spokesman, said ahead of an upcoming visit to Russia by President Jacques Chirac.

Talks the French and Russian presidents will hold in Sochi are crucial for France and for future bilateral relations, said Mr Rivasseau.

Deputy Chief of Kremlin staff Sergei Prikhodko, who is in charge of international affairs, had told reporters earlier that the Russian and French leaders would meet in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi on July 19-20.

The meeting is going to give yet another impetus to the development of bilateral relations, according to Mr Rivasseau.

He recalled a pronouncement of French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin to the effect that a strong Russia was a partner France would like to have. A strong Russia is good for France, Europe and for stability and security of the present-day world.

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