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Presidents Putin (left) and Chirac (file photo) (CTK) September 23, 2006 -- The leaders of Russia, France, and Germany began a summit today in the French town of Compiegne, outside Paris.

The talks between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Angela Merkel are focusing on such issues as energy security, the Iranian nuclear standoff, and the Middle East. A joint news conference is expected at 12:30 p.m. local time.

On September 22, Chirac decorated Putin with France's highest honor, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, in recognition of what the French side called Putin's contribution to the friendship between Russia and France.

(compiled from agency reports)
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