The Russian government and the European Space Agency are to sign before the end of this year an agreement on cooperation and partnership in exploration and utilisation of outer space for peaceful purposes, Alain Fournier-Sicre, head of ESA's permanent office in Russia, said in a RIA Novosti interview on Friday.
He recalled that a draft of the agreement was approved by the ESA Council in March of this year.
Space cooperation between Europe and Russia goes back more than 30 years ago and continues to develop.
France signed an agreement with the USSR on cooperation in outer space as early as 1966. Cooperation directly with ESA was formalised in 1990, when the agency and the Soviet government signed an agreement on cooperation in the exploration and utilisation of outer space for peaceful purposes.
According to Fournier-Sicre, following considerable changes in the world since, a new all-embracing agreement had to be drafted on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and utilisation of space.
The drafting was done by the European Space Agency and its Russian partners -- Rosaviakosmos and the Foreign Ministry. "Now I can confidently say that our joint work has reached its final stage," the head of ESA's Moscow office noted.
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