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10 Oct, 2007 13:20

France and Russia call for more transparency from Iran

The leaders of Russia and France are urging Tehran to be more open about its nuclear programme. The call came after talks between the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Russian counterpart in the Kremlin. Sarkozy is on the second day of a two-day of

Vladir Putin said Russia shares the worries of the rest of the world over Iran's atomic ambitions. The President said that he'd seen no proof that Tehran was trying to make nuclear weapons, adding that Russia would continue to work with the UN Security Council on the issue. 

President Sarkozy agreed that Iran has being providing the international community with a certain level of transparency.

During a media briefing after talks, the two presidents focused on economic partnership between France and Russia.

“Over the last year our trade turnover increased substantially, reaching $US 6,8 billion, which is 13.9 per cent more than the previous year. In the first half of this year trade turnover has reached $US 7 billion. The potential of our co-operation has not been exhausted, though, and both countries are interested in giving further impetus to our co-operation. This can be done through joint large-scale projects,” said Vladimir Putin.

The men pointed to a joint space project involving the facilities near Kourou in French Guiana and Russian-built Soyuz rockets. Mr Sarkozy invited Mr Putin to attend the first launch, scheduled for late 2008 – a trip likely to be the first one for Vladimir Putin after he resigns as the Russian President.

The leaders also mentioned the involvement of the European aviation giant EADS in the development of Russia's recently unveiled Sukhoy Superjet-100 as another example of Russo-French co-operation.

Predictably, energy was high on the agenda. When asked about the possible acquisition of French energy assets by Russian companies and vice verse, Nicolas Sarkozy said there would be no protectionism in this sphere on the part of France, as long as the partnership is mutually beneficial.   For his part, Vladimir Putin pointed out that such moves will eventually benefit both Russian and European economies by making them more competitive.

During the media briefing Mr Sarkozy brought up Kosovo, restating France's stance on the issue.
“As far as Kosovo is concerned, it’s important that Europe stays united. The discussion is open to our Russian friends. This issue is a European affair and we are looking for a solution that is acceptable to everyone,” he said.

Meanwhile, the leaders have unveiled a memorial to the French pilots of Normandie-Niemen air regiment at Layfortovo Park in eastern Moscow. A similar monument was unveiled in Le Bourget last year, during Mr Putin's visit to France.