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Jacques Chirac will see secret Russian space center

On his visit in Russia on April 3, French President Jacques Chirac will be the first leader of foreign country to see secret Command Center for Testing and Operating Space Equipment in Krasnoznamensk, Moscow region.
The Center operates all 130 Russian space satellites onto the orbit and 11 space command posts in Russia. 

Diplomats consider French President’s visiting Russian strategic object as the proof of improving relations between Russia and France, AFP reported.

The visit of French President is estimated as prolonging the Russian-French-German alliance formed in 2003 against the war in Iraq. A day earlier, on April 2, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder visited Russia. He became the first country leader to meet President Putin after his being elected for the second term.
In addition, there are plans to extend the cooperation between Russia and French by launching Russian rocket-carriers from French Kuru space base since December 2006.

For a long time there were problems in the relations between the two countries because of French authorities’ criticism of Russian policy in Chechnya. However, after starting the war in Iraq the issue of Chechnya was not discussed much, and the relations improved.

First French President planned to visit Russia on April 1, but he postponed the visit by two days after French rightist parties lost the Parliamentary elections.

The schedule of the 2-day visit allows Russian and French Presidents to discuss a variety of issues during the dinner in the residence of Russian President in Novo-Ogarevo, including the NATO and EU expansion   and the situation in the Middle East.

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