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    Russia registers ownership rights on prestigious downtown Paris lot

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    Russia has completed formalities in purchasing a plot of land in downtown Paris

    Russia has completed formalities in purchasing a plot of land in downtown Paris, a spokesman for the presidential property department said on Thursday.

    France announced in February that Russia had won a tender to buy the plot of land on the Seine close to the Eiffel Tower after offering the highest price and outbidding Canada and Saudi Arabia.

    Viktor Khrekov said Russia was planning to build a spiritual and cultural center on the land.

    The plot on Branly Quay is currently occupied by the French national meteorological service, Meteo France, which is expected to be relocated in 2011.

    According to the Russian Newsweek magazine, Canada was seeking the land for a new embassy, while Saudi Arabia wanted to build a diplomatic office and a mosque intended only for Saudi citizens.

    Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of Russian parliament's International Affairs Committee, told the magazine that the Russian state would hand the piece of prime real estate over to the Russian Orthodox Church.

    A group of private investors also reportedly took part in the tender, with plans to build a hotel on Branly Quay.

    The plot would be the second major French acquisition this year for the Russian Orthodox Church, after a court ruled in January that Russia was the rightful owner of St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Nice.

    MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti)

     

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