Russia has every reason to develop strategic relations with Europe, taking into consideration the traditional selfish position of the US administration
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a work visit to France yesterday. When Putin's plane landed in Paris, the Russian leader received a hearty welcome with orchestra music and the guard of honor. Vladimir Putin went to the Elysees Palace to have a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac.
Putin's first meeting with French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Sapatero became the key event of the visit. The four politicians discussed the situation in the Middle East, while the Russian president informed his colleagues about the results of the recent Putin-Bush summit in Bratislava. In addition, European leaders touched upon the issue of relations between the USA and the EU.
Russian observer Mikhail Leontiev believes that Vladimir Putin's meeting with the three European colleagues in Paris became just a common work undertaking. The fact of the meeting is not that important as opposed to the possibility of creating a tradition of such official communication with European leaders in terms of strengthening international links.
Russia may have certain problems in its relations with the European Union in connection with the general situation with Russia-EU ties, which have been formed during the recent several years. European states are much more emphatic in their criticism of Russia's policy in Chechnya than the USA.
Russia has every reason to develop strategic relations with Europe, taking into consideration the traditional selfish position of the US administration. Old Europe has been waging defensive war against the USA, and it can be over with the destruction of Europe as a subject of the world economy. There is no balance in the US economy at the moment – Washington wants to make Europe pay. Now Europe will have to pay the States for its own economic prosperity, Leontiev believes.
Vlasdimir Putin said at the press conference after the official meeting that Russia was interested in predictable and transparent processes in Europe. “We want to see our common continent as joint, safe and prospering,” Putin said. The Russian leader said that Russia would like to develop security cooperation with NATO and the European Union. Putin thanked his French colleague Chirac for the opportunity to visit the Air Operations Command Center in France: “It was a very interesting trip. We would like to develop not only the bilateral cooperation, but the cooperation within the scope of NATO and the EU too,” the Russian president said.
Answering a question about Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said that Russia was not interested in splitting the neighboring state, but was using all its influence to relieve Ukraine of political crises. “We will do everything possible to support the actions of the Ukrainian administration,” the president said. “No one wants to witness a serious destabilizing situation on the European continent, in East Europe. Russia has no preferences about certain political forces in Ukraine,” Interfax quoted Putin as saying.
As far as the development of the Iranian nuclear industry is concerned, Putin said that Russia's views on the matter were based on the non-proliferation principle. The president also stated that Russia had no contradictions with other European countries about the Iranian issue: “We are jointly seeking special ways of solving the problem in order not to infringe upon Iran's interests in the peaceful nuclear program,” the Russian leader said.