Vladimir Putin has congratulated Jacques Chirac on his re-election as the President of France, reported the Kremlin's press service. "Undoubtedly, your convincing victory will open up new vistas in bilateral relations," reads Putin's telegram to Chirac. All the more so since Russians know you to be a loyal friend of our country, who did much to strengthen all-round cooperation between Russia and France. "We regard our strategic partnership with France as one of the most important factors supporting international stability and security. The Russian-French Security Council, which we agreed to set up during our January talks in Paris, will certainly help our cooperation -- 'global partnership', as you aptly identified it -- assume a new quality. "We look forward to establishing a closer cooperation with France, creating a common economic space in Europe and forming an effective security system that could keep all Europeans safe from new threats and challenges of the globalization epoch. We appreciate all your initiatives in this sphere. "I would also like to use this occasion to express my sympathy and friendly feelings for the French nation, with whom we have shared quite a few pages in history."
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