Issues related to an upcoming visit to Russia by President Jacques Chirac of France are dominating Russian-French talks Moscow is hosting on Monday.
Russia attaches great significance to relationships with France, which is its special and long-established political partner, Igor Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, said as opening a meeting with his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin. Mr Ivanov then pointed to President Chirac's recent pronouncement to the effect that France was going to make French-Russian partnership more globally oriented. Moscow approves of such an approach, said the minister.
Mr de Villepin, on his part, said he was glad to be visiting Moscow both as a private person and as a diplomat. Russia occupies a special place in France's heart, he said emphatically.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is to meet President Jacques Chirac in Sochi, Russia's Black Sea resort city, on July 19-20, Sergei Prikhodko, deputy chief of Kremlin staff, told reporters Friday.
According to a source in the Russian Defence Ministry, Russia started deploying elite commando units in eastern Libya. Russian GRU officers, mercenaries and advisors have arrived in Libya