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    RUSSIAN, FRENCH PRESIDENTS VISIT SPACE TROOPS TEST CENTER

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    KRASNOZNAMENSK (Moscow region), April 3, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian and French Presidents Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac are visiting the Gherman Titov Main Center for Testing and Controlling Spacecraft, located 40 kilometers from Moscow in the town of Krasnoznamensk.

    This center is part of the Russian Defense Ministry Space Troops. The center controls Russia's both military and civil space orbital groups and conducts work on the International Space Station.

    Vladimir Putin arrived at the center a few minutes earlier than Mr. Chirac. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, head of the Federal Space Agency Anatoly Perminov and Space Troops Commander Vladimir Popovkin met the Russian head of state.

    Then the Russian president went to meet his French counterpart. Cordially welcoming each other, the presidents went to the main hall of the test center to hear the report of the center's head, Lt.-Gen. Nikolai Kolesnikov.

    The French president is the first foreign leader to visit the Center.

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