Saturday, 6 March 2010

Sarkozy supports Medvedev’s modernization programme

Nicolas Sarkozy vowed support for Medvedev's course for modernization and talked about selling Russia four Mistral ships.

After Medvedev's official visit the French president said that Russia might buy not one, but four Mistral helicopter-carrying ships. At the press conference after the meeting Sarkozy said that "exclusive talks" on the purchase were taking place and that two of the ships were to be built in the French Saint-Nazaire and two in Russia under license. The deal could be worth as much as $3 billion.

It is seen as a turnaround in the French-Russian relations.After Sarkozy was elected in 2007 he distances himself from Russia, criticizing its poor human rights record and actions in Chechnya, yet in 2008 he negotiated ceasefire in the conflict with Georgia. The Russian President's visit "marked a shift from hostility to warm embrace."

During the dinner that closed Medvedev's visit to Paris Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his support for Medvedev's modernization initiative. "Mr President, I am aware of your personal contribution to the reinforcement of the relationship between France and Russia. I am also aware of your desire to modernize Russian society and we would like to help you with it up to the completion of the modernization and the implementation of your plans aimed against corruption and towards the development of legal state," Sarkozy said at the beginning of the dinner.

During the business forum that was part of the visit Medvedev invited the French businessmen to the economic forum in St Petersburg in June. President Sarkozy said that he would be happy to visit the forum with a delegation of French companies that trust Russia and want to invest in it. He underlined that at the moment French investments in Russia exceeded those of their American friends.

The two presidents stressed that the relationship between the two countries was deeply historic and that Russian and French cultures had a lot in common.

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