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PARIS, July 14 (Itar-Tass) - Members of the Russian Federation Council upper parliament house have been invited as the guests of honor at the official celebrations of France’s national holiday. A delegation from the Federation Council’s cooperation group is currently in Paris at the invitation of their French colleagues.
In an interview with Itar-Tass, Mikhail Margelov, the delegation’s leader and chairman of the Federation Council international committee, this first-ever invitation to Russian lawmakers to attend the festivities on the occasion of France’s national holiday is ever more important bearing in mind that these festivities were held ahead of the 100th anniversary of World War I (1914-1918). “Our French colleagues said they wanted Russia to be invited in a military parade in the Champs Elysees among the winner states in the First World War that will be held next year,” he said.
According to Margelov, the program of the Paris visit includes his meetings with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, with French foreign ministry’s envoy for relations with Russia Jean-Pierre Chevenement, and chairmen of the Senate commissions.
The Russian lawmakers will also make a tour around France. They will visit a French air base at Mont-de-Marsan, the home base of the famous Normandie-Niemen regiment, a symbol of the Russian-French brotherhood in arms during WWII. While in Toulouse, they will visit an Airbus plant, the manufacturer of A-380 planes.
Among the topics Russian lawmakers plan to discuss with their French counterparts will be economic cooperation. “France is one of Russia’s business partners of top priority,” Margelov noted. Aggregate French investments in the Russian economy stood at 9.8 billion U.S. dollars as at the end of 2012, of which 3.2 billion U.S. dollars were direct investments.
Most promising cooperation areas include aircraft-building, power engineering, telecommunications and communications, and space research. An agreement on the construction of Mistral-type helicopter carrier ships for the Russian Navy was a milestone event in the modern history of relations between Moscow and Paris.