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Russian President has arrived in Paris on this year’s first visit
President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Paris on this year’s first visit. The visit is being paid by the invitation of French President Jacques Chirac. This is a working visit, a high-ranking Kremlin official told Itar-Tass. Putin will meet with Chirac and German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday and Saturday. It will be the second meeting between Putin and Chirac this year. The first one took place in St. Petersburg during the G8 summit. In 2005, they met five times. Soon after the arrival, Putin will visit the town of Le Bourget, ten kilometers away from Paris, to attend the opening of a monument to Normandy-Neman aviation squad servicemen, who fought the Nazi in the WW2. Negotiations at the Elysee Palace will follow. The presidents will give a press conference, and two transport cooperation agreements will be signed in their presence. On Saturday Putin and Chirac will go to Compiegne, 80 kilometers north of Paris, for meeting with Merkel. The Troika will meet in this format for the first and maybe the last time. Merkel has not taken part in the tripartite negotiations before, as she succeeded to Gerhard Schroeder less than a year ago. The next meeting of the Troika may be held without Chirac, as France will have presidential elections in spring 2007. The Troika format was tested for the first time in March 1998, when Boris Yeltsin, Helmut Kohl and Jacques Chirac met near Moscow. The Troika of Putin, Chirac and Schroeder met several times in 2003 to discuss the Iraqi situation. Since then, the meetings have become annual. 2005 was an exception, as the Troika met twice and invited the Spanish premier to attend one of their meetings. The Compiegne meeting will be this year’s fourth for Putin and Merkel. The chancellor has thrice visited Russia. She was in Moscow in January, Tomsk in April, and St. Petersburg in July. The Russian and German leaders will have another meeting before the end of this year. Compiegne, which has 40,000 residents, is known for one of the French oldest royal mansions and the forest. The mansion was built in the 9th century and modernized in the 18th century. Napoleon III lived there for several years, and Russian Emperor Nicholas II stopped for several days at the mansion in 1901. The Compiegne forest is one of the third largest in France. The Compiegne Armistice, which ended the WW1, was signed in the forest, and France capitulated to Nazi Germany in the same place on June 22, 1940.
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