The French government is examining ways to upgrade Russia’s ties with leading Western institutions, but expansion of the G-7 to a "G-8" that would include Russia is apparently not on the immediate agenda. France is currently chairing the G-7. Summit meetings of the group of industrialized nations are scheduled for April in Moscow and June in Lyon, France. The meetings, to be co-chaired by the Russian and French presidents, will be devoted to discussion of nuclear security issues.
According to a senior French official, President Jacques Chirac "is sparing no effort to ensure that Russia obtains the rank it deserves in the concert of nations." He suggested that the decision to have co-chairs at the April summit was motivated in part by the desire to enhance Russia’s status. Diplomatic sources speculate that Russian inclusion in the G-7 during the summit in June is possible, but would have to occur on the basis of a political quid pro quo that saw Russia agree to NATO enlargement, which is unlikely. The timing of such a decision would be awkward in any event because the summit coincides with Russia’s presidential election. Yeltsin is currently slated to attend the June summit in France. As in past years, he will arrive late on the second day and hold talks the following day with other world leaders. (5)
The discussion of Russia’s status comes on the eve of trips to Moscow by French prime minister Alain Juppe and German chancellor Helmut Kohl. Juppe will be in Moscow February 14-16 to set up, with Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, a commission promoting bilateral economic cooperation. Kohl’s stay in Moscow will follow immediately thereafter, February 18-21. He is to meet with Russian president Boris Yeltsin and other top officials.
Political Groundswell Against War in Chechnya.