The two presidents exchanged views on the most pressing international issues and reviewed the current status and prospects of Russian-French cooperation.
In particular, the discussion focused on Russia’s purchase of two Mistral class helicopter carriers built in France and the manufacture of two more such helicopter carriers in Russia. The parties have reached final accord on this issue and the contract will be signed soon.
The two leaders also discussed France’s participation in the development of the North Caucasus tourism cluster. The decision was made to include this project among the priorities of the bilateral strategic partnership. The Presidents of Russia and France adopted a joint statement on this issue, which also describes the establishment and further development of spa resorts on the Black and Caspian sea coasts. The document defines the scope of Russian-French cooperation in this field.
On the Russian side the talks were attended by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Presidential Aides Arkady Dvorkovich and Sergei Prikhodko, Russian Ambassador to France Alexander Orlov and Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Mikhail Margelov.
President of France Nicolas Sarkozy (retranslated): Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great honour and pleasure to welcome President Medvedev here in Deauville to open the summit of the Group of Eight.
Relations between France and Russia are developing dynamically and I can say that there is an atmosphere of deep trust between our two states.
We talked about a wide range of issues and we will discuss them further later in the day. I can tell you now that we have reached final agreement in regard to the two Mistral helicopter carriers that will be built in France and two more ships to be built in Russia. All this is settled and ready for signing which will take place in 15 days.
I would like to reiterate my conviction, a belief shared by me personally and all of France, that the Cold War has come to an end, that the Berlin Wall has fallen and that we should treat Russia as a friendly state and involve it in our deliberations about creating an extensive space of security and prosperity.
We discussed all major issues on the international agenda, on which we have a very close global vision. We may not be in complete agreement on some issues, but we have decided to promote joint initiatives. We will have another opportunity to discuss it all together over the next hours.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all I would like to thank my friend Nicolas Sarkozy for the fact that we are meeting today here in Deauville. This is a perfect venue for bilateral meetings, as well as for a summit of the Group of Eight. I completely agree that at present the relationship between Russia and France is excellent, and our personal relationship is absolutely trust-based. This has important implications for the development of our two countries and for Europe, and in general for the situation in the world.
We discussed a wide range of different issues today, paying a special attention to international affairs. There are many difficulties and problems, and a great deal to discuss. We openly expressed our positions in a friendly manner and will continue this discussion at the G8 Summit. The G8 is generally an excellent format for discussing such matters but when France holds the presidency of the group, these opportunities are multiplied a hundredfold.
We have just reached agreement on the final points of the contract for the purchase of two Mistral class helicopter carriers from France, with the subsequent construction of two more Mistrals in the Russian Federation. All negotiations have been completed, we have agreed on everything and will sign a contract very soon. This will play a positive role in our cooperation.
We will have many more opportunities to talk on the summit’s sidelines and during plenary sessions, and I hope that this will be a very productive event. Once again, I would like to thank the President of France for organising the summit.