Interview with Vladislav Inozemtsev
Russia Today: During the previous meeting of the two leaders at the G8 summit, they seemed to get on rather well on a personal basis. Soon after, Gazprom announced it was choosing French Total to be its partner for the Stockman oil field development. Are there big expectations for talks this time around?
Vladislav Inozemtsev: I think this time the two leaders will focus on political issues first of all, maybe on the problem of nuclear proliferation, on Iran's nuclear problem and of course on Kosovo. This is Mr Sarkozy’s first visit to Moscow, and as far as I know it’s a working visit rather then a state one – there’s no minister of foreign affairs in the French delegation, no businessmen. So I think it's aim is to strengthen the personal ties between the two presidents and to elaborate the agenda in general.
As far as Gazprom and the Stockman project is concerned, I think that the work is going on, but I don’t expect any new contracts to be signed in the coming days. It will be a matter of the more distant future.
RT: There are also some areas of disagreement between the two countries, like the stalled Treaty on Partnership and Co-operation between Russia and the EU. Do you think some common ground will be found on that?
V.I.: I don’t think there will be any breakthrough during this visit because Mr Sarkozy said recently that these stalled negotiations may resume when France will be the president of the EU in the second half of 2008. He doesn’t want to press Poland, the main obstacle in these negotiations. And of course everybody knows that this disputed Partnership and Co-operation Agreement is now in force, and it’s not necessary to renew it, because it’s automatically renewed after it expires in November. So there’s no big hurry in in approving this treaty and all these contradictions can be resolved in 2008 after the presidential elections here in Russia and after France assumes the EU presidency.
RT: France and Russia have other things to argue about – you’ve mentioned the issues of Iran and Kosovo. Yesterday Mr Sarkozy announced they’d come close on those issues. What could that mean?
V.I.: I think on Iran Mr Sarkozy will press the Russian side very heavily to move closer to the position of the Western countries. They don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, and I think Mr Sarkozy’s position on this issue is right, because it’s very risky to allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. And if Russia comes close to the western position it would be very good.
On the Kosovo issue the situation is quite the contrary. From my point of view the Russian position on Kosovo is very well established, it’s much more solid then the western one, because if Kosovo gains independence as the United States propose, it will become a failed state in the centre of Europe. It’s a rather dangerous situation to push for independence. And if Russia succeeds in promoting its point of view in these negotiations it would be a very good result of these talks.