JACQUES CHIRAC TO VISIT RUSSIA APRIL 1-2

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MOSCOW, March 22, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - President Jacques Chirac of France is to visit Russia April 1-2 at the invitation of Vladimir Putin. This was disclosed to RIA Novosti today at the presidential press service.

Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will also be staying in Moscow early this April. According to the Kremlin's press service, Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder have talked to each other over the phone March 15, discussing the development of Russian-German relations in the context of preparations for the German Chancellor's working Russian visit, slotted for early April 2004.

On March 16 Vladimir Putin, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder talked to each other on the phone. The President of France and the German Chancellor, who were holding top-level French-German consultations in Paris that day, phoned the President of Russia, jointly congratulating him on his latest victory; previously, Vladimir Putin was congratulated by each leader separately.

Gerhard Schroeder stressed during his March 15 phone conversation with Vladimir Putin that he was quite happy about continued close-knit cooperation in the course of his next Moscow visit.

Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac talked to each other on the phone that same day, discussing some topical aspects of bilateral relations and projected multi-level contacts, top-level contacts included.

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