Russian president Boris Yeltsin and French prime minister Lionel Jospin reportedly agreed during talks in the Kremlin yesterday that the recent French-Russian-Malaysian deal to develop an Iranian gas field not only serves the national interests of Russia and France, but is fully compatible with the spirit of international law. According to Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the two men said that efforts to stop the deal are unjustified and will prove fruitless. (Itar-Tass, October 30) Washington has objected strongly to the gas project and has threatened to act on U.S. legislation stipulating sanctions against companies doing business in Iran. (See Monitor, October 2, 17)
Jospin’s visit to Moscow is his first, and Yastrzhembsky said that the French minister and Yeltsin had used the opportunity to renew the "privileged partnership" that exists in relations between the two countries. Jospin is scheduled today to co-chair, with Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, a session of the Russian-French intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation. The commission, which aims especially at boosting trade between the two countries, is patterned after the so-called "Gore-Chernomyrdin" commission and was established during a visit by Yeltsin to Paris in January of 1996. Today’s meeting will be the commission’s third; its participants will focus on raising French investment in the Russian economy. (Itar-Tass, October 30)
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