France a major partner of Russia: Putin

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Moscow, Oct 10 (UNI) France is a major partner of Russia in Europe and the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after his talks with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in the Presidential residence at Novo-Ogaryovo near Moscow.

''France has been, is and, I hope, will continue to be one of our main partners in Europe and the world. Our relations are developing successfully,'' Putin said yesterday night.

On his part, Sarkozy said attempts to obstruct Russia's return to the ranks of leading world powers were senseless.

He said he was aware of the difficulties Russia experienced in recent years and the efforts it took to overcome them.

''Of course, France understands Russia's determination to return to the international scene and regain its position.

Disagreeing with this would be senseless,'' the French President said.

Sarkozy arrived yesterday in Moscow for his first bilateral summit with Putin. The two leaders were expected to discuss energy and industrial co-operation, as well as Iran's nuclear programme and Kosovo.

Interestingly, the French President has accused Russia of ''complicating'' world's problems.

The French President also called for adopting ''increasing sanctions'' against Iran, saying previous efforts had pushed Tehran towards greater transparency.

''Between resignation and war -- two words which are not in my vocabulary -- there is a responsible attitude: increasing sanctions to bring Iran to reason, but also openness to dialogue if Iran chooses to respect its obligations,'' he said in an interview to Russian official newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Sarkozy's comments on Iran is likely to put him at odds with the establishments in Moscow, which has so far maintained that it does not believe further sanctions against Tehran will help.

UNI

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